Joseph Hardacre “Joe” Calder
RALEIGH – Joseph “Joe” Hardacre Calder, 92 of Raleigh, died Tuesday evening, Feb. 5, 2013. Funeral service and celebration of life will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, at Bryan-Lee Funeral Home chapel, 1200 Benson Road, Garner. The family will receive friends an hour before the service, from 1-2 p.m. Immediately after, there will be a procession to the Montlawn Memorial Park at 2911 S. Wilmington Street with full military honors.
Joe was born in Flint, Mich. on Jan. 4, 1921. His father, Alexander, was a veteran of WWI after serving for many years in India as a member of the British Army. After the War, Alex and Joe’s mother, Alice Smith Hardacre, immigrated to the United States from Dundee, Scotland and Alex worked in the Buick factory in Flint until his death in 1947.
Joe graduated from Mt. Morris High School, Mt. Morris, MI, in 1939. Signing up with the U.S. Army in 1941, Joe attended Parachute Training and Officers Training School, and received a combat commission as a 2nd lieutenant in 1942. As a Combat Intelligence Officer assigned to the 517th Parachute Infantry Combat Team, Joe was sent into North Africa and Italy before being part of “Operation Dragoon” in which the 517th paratroopers, among other Allied forces, dropped into Southeastern France on August 15, 1944. Joe spent the long winter of 1944 in Belgium fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
After the War, Joe met Mary Ellen Carr, a native of Newton Grove, while she was working on base at Fort Bragg. Mary Ellen and Joe married in April 1946 and their son, Joseph Alexander “Sandy” was born the next year. Right after Sandy’s birth, Joe, who had learned Japanese and received Counter Intelligence Agents training was sent to Japan to assist with reconstruction and intelligence activities. Joe, Mary Ellen and Sandy served for two tours in Japan over about five years, while returning to the U.S. for Joe to receive additional training and lead offices stateside. From 1957 to 1961, the family lived in Germany; after learning Russian, Joe was stationed near Kaiserslautern leading a counter intelligence Field Office operating against targets in Eastern Europe. In December 1959, the Calder family met five-day old “Barbara” in a Pirmasens, Germany hospital, whom they immediately adopted and named Carole Lynn.
Returning to the U.S. in 1961, Joe continued to be involved in intelligence operations, including special warfare activities involving the Cuban Missile Crisis. When he received orders to for a tour in Southeast Asia, Mary Ellen convinced Joe to retire. After a distinguished 23-year U.S. Army career, Joe retired in 1963 as a Lieutenant Colonel, Intelligence Corps Detachment, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Joe’s many honors included Bronze Star Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation and Army Commendation Medal. Mary Ellen always said he would have been general if he hadn’t argued with his superiors so much.
During the 1960s, Joe enjoyed selling Buick automobiles in Fayetteville and spending time working on Mary Ellen’s parents’ farm. Joe continued as a Special Agent with the 113th Military Intelligence Group as a civilian capacity until 1970 when he began a new career as the Director of Public Safety at East Carolina University. With the support of Chancellor Leo Jenkins, Joe built the Office of Public Safety from a few-man security and traffic team to a two division public safety and traffic administration with numerous officers and staff. Joe served ECU throughout the turbulence of the 1970s and 80s during which he built relations with the Greenville Police Department convincing the Police Department to treat college students with flexibility. He also was called upon to protect innocent Arab students during the post-Iranian hostage crisis dealt with typical college campus concerns. Joe retired from his ECU career in 1989.
Joe trained and mentored a cadre of military intelligence agents and campus police officers in Greenville. He and Mary Ellen made the kind of friends whose doors you walk through without knocking. Over the years, Joe was sought after for everything from borrowing a wrench to citing a historical fact, from a careful listening ear to thoughtful advice, from the occasional loan to embracing comfort.
Mary Ellen sadly developed ovarian cancer. Joe cared for her at home as much as possible and their marriage of over 50 years ended in 1997 when she passed away.
After Mary Ellen’s death, Joe reacquainted with a good friend and classmate from Mt. Morris High School, Uldene “Deanie” Babcock Servan, now a widow herself. The spark grew into love and Deanie and Joe married in October, 1998. To share themselves with both families and enjoy both homes, the two traveled between Michigan and North Carolina for almost ten years. Deanie developed a kidney condition requiring dialysis which Joe learned to perform at home. She passed away in North Carolina with Joe and family in attendance in April 2008.
Joe continued traveling to Michigan where he was able to maintain close meaningful friendships as well as connection with Deanie’s family. Joe sent many email messages describing the clear blue skies and water fowl flying over the lake on which he lived in Michigan. When Joe did decide it was time to stay put, he lived just a few minutes walk from Sandy and Penny in Wake County. Even as he began to slow down, he still loved cruises, most recently visiting Panama and Europe. He visited with life-long friends, continually met new ones, held his great-grandchildren, spoiled his children and grandchildren, cared for the birds he watched outside his front window, always had something new to learn, and doted on his dog, Ginger.
To his children, Joe was larger than life and an inspiration. They both followed his sense of “doing the right thing” and have had long careers as lawyers. Joseph Hardacre Calder was truly one of the Greatest Generation; his family sends him safe travels to a beautiful place and will miss him terribly.
Joe is survived by his two children, Joseph Alexander “Sandy” Calder of Raleigh, and Carole Lynn Calder of Chapel Hill; four grandchildren, Tay Calder Brewer of Garner, Cameron Calder Chandler of Wilmington, Alexander Kelly Calder of Raleigh, and Zoe Anna Johnsen of Chapel Hill; and four great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Mary Ellen Carr Calder, and his wife of ten years, Uldene Babcock Calder, as well as his parents.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Wounded Warrior Project ( www.woundedwarriorproject.org) or Wake County SPCA (www.spcawake.org).
Condolences may be made to bryan-leefuneralhome.com.