By Steve Plunkett
BOCA RATON — Architect, preservationist and longtime city resident Howard McCall, whose designs included the Royal Palm Shopping Center and many of the original homes in the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club, died Dec. 8, a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 88.
Born July 20, 1923, in Missouri, Mr. McCall enlisted in the Navy the day after his high school graduation to serve during World War II. He met and married Peggy, his wife of 68 years, while stationed in Vero Beach, where they started their family.
After seven years, Mr. McCall enrolled at the University of Miami and the University of Illinois and earned his architecture degree. In 1957 the family returned to Florida and Mr. McCall opened what would become McCall and Lynch, Architects and Planners in Boca Raton. Besides the Royal Palm designs, Mr. McCall’s work included homes in Camino Gardens, the Fifth Avenue Shopping Center, the elementary school at St. Andrews and St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church.
Mr. McCall joined the American Institute of Architects in 1958 and was president of its Spanish River chapter as well as president of the Boca Raton Rotary. He also served many years on the city’s Planning and Zoning Board and its Historic Preservation Board.
“Mr. McCall was known for many, many contributions to this city, one of which of course was St. Gregory’s itself. He was really instrumental completely in the development of St. Gregory’s, and that was his beloved church,’’ said Mayor Susan Whelchel, who noted his passing at three city meetings the week after he died.
After retiring from architecture in 1998 Mr. McCall spent hundreds of hours overseeing the installation of a stained-glass window at the entrance of the church.
The Very Rev. Andrew Sherman, rector of St. Gregory’s, said clergy often refer to stalwarts in their flocks as pillars.
“In Howard’s case it’s not just a metaphor. He truly was a pillar of the church,” Sherman said.
Mr. McCall also focused his architect’s talents on building remote-control model planes.
“He wasn’t particularly good at flying them but he was really good at building them,” said his son Howard “Buz” Jr. of Boca Raton.
And being an ex-Navy sailor, “he loved the water and he loved sailing. That was always a big passion of his,” his son said.
Besides his wife and son, Mr. McCall is survived by daughter Carol McNally of Orlando and son Russell of Littleton, Colo., nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, a sister and four nieces and nephews.
Services were Dec. 29 at St. Gregory’s. The family asked that remembrances in Mr. McCall’s name be made to the Memorial Fund of St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, 100 NE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33432 or the Boca Raton Historical Society General Fund, 71 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton, FL 33432.