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Abner Vernon McCall (1915-1995)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1956

Abner Vernon McCall was born June 8, 1915 in Perrin, Texas. When he was a child of three, his father died during the flu epidemic of 1918, leaving McCall's mother a widow with four children. Unable to support her children after her own health failed several years later, she placed them in the Masonic School and Home in Fort Worth. There Abner McCall excelled academically, was valedictorian of his class, received a Masonic scholarship to attend Baylor University, and entered Baylor in the fall of 1933. It was the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the university.

McCall excelled at Baylor as he had at the Masonic School and graduated at the top of the Baylor Law 1938 class. Following graduation he went into law practice, and he also taught a law class at Baylor the next academic year. He served as an assistant professor from 1938 until 1942, and then left Baylor to earn his LL.M at the University of Michigan, completing it in 1943. Baylor law school closed its doors that year for the duration of World War II, and McCall joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serving for three years. At war's end he returned to Baylor as professor of law in 1946, and was appointed dean of the law school in 1948. He served as dean until 1959, when he became excecutive vice president of Baylor.

McCall was married in 1940, and he and his wife had four children. His wife died suddenly at the age of fifty in 1969, and he married the widow of a fellow Baylor faculty member the following year. That marriage lasted until McCall's death twenty-five years later.

McCall was appointed an associate Texas Supreme Court justice in June 1956 by Gov. Allan Shivers to fill the vacancy left when Will Wilson resigned to run for state attorney general. He served in the post the remainder of the year, but did not seek election to the position.

In 1961 McCall was appointed president of Baylor University, and he went on to serve twenty years in the position. Meanwhile, he continued to teach law courses. In 1981 he was named Baylor's chancellor, and held the post until retiring in 1985. During his lifetime he served in leadership positions in many educational, Masonic, and Baptist organizations.

Abner Vernon McCall died June 11, 1995, just three days after his eightieth birthday.


Abner V. McCall, Baylor Law: A Rich and Proud Tradition (visited September 26, 2006).

Abner Vernon McCall (1915-1995), Memorials, The Philosophical Society of Texas (visited September 26, 2006).

Abner Vernon McCall: Baylor President, 1961-1981, About Baylor (visited September 26, 2006).

Hugh M. Smith. Illustrious Abner V. McCall, 33°, Grand Cross.

Extended bibliography

Inauguration of Abner Vernon McCall as Tenth President of Baylor University, Saturday Morning, October 14, 1961, Waco, Texas (Waco, Texas: Baylor University, 1961).

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 11, page 593
Volume 15, page 327
Volume 19, page 585
Volume 24, page 519
Volume 32, page 349
Volume 33, page 86
Volume 35, page 1029
Volume 36, page 368

Abner McCall Becomes Supreme Court Justice, The Texas Public Employee 6 (August, 1956).

Shivers Appoints McCall to State's Highest Court, Dallas Morning News, June 2, 1956.

Morehead, Richard M. Abner McCall: A Man of Law, Dallas Morning News, July 8, 1956.

Turner, Thomas. You Can't Hardly Find Guys Like Abner McCall, Dallas Morning News, June 28, 1959.

Turner, Thomas. Abner McCall Inaugurated as 10th President of Baylor, Dallas Morning News, Oct. 15, 1961.

Nelson, Tom. McCall Resigning Baylor Post, Houston Post, Jan. 17, 1981.