Verna Crouse Calloway of Queen Anne, MD, passed away on Monday, September 5th, at Arcadia Assisted Living in Denton, MD. She was 91 years old – 3 days short of her 92nd birthday.
Born at Mill Meadows, near Queen Anne, her parents’ home in what is now the Tuckahoe Equestrian Center in Tuckahoe State Park, Mrs. Calloway was the daughter of the late Clifton Gibbel Crouse and Esther King Crouse. She lived in the Queen Anne area all her life.
A 1947 graduate of Ridgely High School, Mrs. Calloway went on to attend Elizabethtown College and Bridgewater College. She later earned her bachelor's and master’s degrees from Salisbury State College and went on to teach for almost 30 years at Ridgely Elementary School and for two years at Sudlersville Elementary School. She nurtured many generations of kindergarten children with her devotion and passion for education. Every child in Ridgely passed through her classroom and therefore every family knew her, and she knew them. Her kindergarten classroom was an active and colorful and place.
Mrs. Calloway was a revered artisan and craftsman, especially known for her wool braided rugs. Sometimes reaching a length of 15 feet, Verna created over 120 of them, gracing the homes of admirers all over the Delmarva Peninsula. Mrs. Calloway learned her craft from a favorite aunt on the King side of her family and then went on to teach others and participate in numerous arts and craft shows around the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Assigning her creations assorted names like “Lilacs in Spring,” “Bittersweet,” “Chocolate Chips,” and “Esther’s Garden,” her hand braided rugs won many awards and acclaim over the years at the Delaware State Fair and other venues. Her family fondly remembers her living room and storage sheds bursting to the seams with skeins of wool of many colors and other rug braiding paraphernalia.
Mrs. Calloway was a lifelong member of Ridgely Church of the Brethren, where she served as the church organist starting at age 12. Her parents’ families on both sides were founding members of the Ridgely church and Verna Calloway devoted her entire life to playing music, singing in the church choir, participating on various committees, planning worship services, serving as deacon, traveling to annual conferences, preparing food, and enthusiastically dedicating her life to all facets of communion and fellowship in the Church of the Brethren.
Verna Calloway met the love of her life, Robert Lee Calloway, while both attended and participated in sporting events at Ridgely High School and the greater community. They married on June 10, 1951, and stayed ever faithful and committed to each other through 68 years of marriage until Bob’s passing at age 91 on November 17, 2019. They spent a lifetime of bliss together, mostly on their beloved country homestead known as Twin Acres, raising seven children, attending church events, traveling the continent, creating Verna’s braided rugs, enjoying community dinners together, and participating in family events for their many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Verna and Bob started a treasured tradition over 50 years ago called CalloDay that continues even to this day -- their many children and other descendants still meet monthly at their various family homes to celebrate food, fun, sports, games, and each other. Verna the matriarch was always and ever the passionate cook and lover of good food. She reveled in nature appreciating wildlife, flowers, country life, and all things natural. She adored travel to such diverse locations as Alaska, Canada, Florida, and everywhere in between. Later in life, Mrs. Calloway delighted in watching westerns and nature programming on television, but she always placed her love of God and family over all other priorities in life.
Mrs. Calloway is survived by a son-in-law and her six sons: Stephen W. Judy of Greenwood, DE, Robert L. Calloway, Jr. (Debra) of Queen Anne, Daniel K. Calloway (Silke) of Potomac, MD, Darryl C. Calloway (Lucia) of Millington, MD, Gregory M. Calloway of Denton, MD, David C. Calloway (Lisa) of Queen Anne, Jonathan N. Calloway (Deneen) of Media, PA; one sister: Lois Crouse Teeter of Kingman, AZ; one brother: Rev. B. Merle Crouse (Jean) of St. Cloud, FL; 21 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert and daughter Lizabeth Calloway Judy; and two sisters: Helena Hand Bak and Mary Joyce Zeigler.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 17, at the Ridgely Church of the Brethren where friends may visit from 10 until 11 before the service. The interment will be in the Green Mount Cemetery on Cemetery Road in Hillsboro, MD. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall at the Ridgely Church of the Brethren (located at 110 Park Avenue, Ridgely, MD).
If friends wish to send memorial donations in Mrs. Calloway’s memory, the family suggests sending them to the Ridgely Church of the Brethren, PO Box 471, Ridgely, MD 21660.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Verna Calloway, please visit our floral store.
Ridgely Church of the Brethren
PO Box 471, Ridgely MD 21660