Saturday, October 5, 2019

We are sad to report the passing of George McCall. We met George just after his 80th birthday, earlier this year, when his family arranged a surprise party for him where they presented George with donations made in his honor to the Museum of Natural History's Lions exhibit.

McCall with Lions prior to update

George's history with Macbride Hall dates back to the 1950's when, as children, he and his siblings would spend their summer days exploring the museums, "often with our sketch pads in hand," his sister told us. George went on to graduate from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. He completed his advanced degrees at Harvard, but wasn't away from the Museum of Natural History for long. George began teaching Sociology with both an office and classes in Macbride Hall shortly after.

Throughout his life, George was a world traveler, holding a special relationship with the continent of Africa, and in particular South Africa.  George visited South Africa, it’s major cities and its national parks over 45 times, as either a visiting professor, conducting research, and/or for numerous vacations.

George's sister, Connie Lee McCall recounts, "George was a naturalist. I was constantly reminded of his knowledge and passion for nature, as he would identify and describe in detail every plant, tree, animal, insect, rock, shell, land formation, etc., that he came in contact with."

George's life-long bond with the Museum of Natural History through many chapters in his life, his love of nature, and his passion for the regions in Africa he frequented made the family's surprise birthday gift of donations in his honor to improve the exhibit for the Lions at MNH--originating from South Africa--a perfect fit. And so, it is no surprise that George has requested donations, now in his memory, to be made to the "McCall Gift for Lions" fund:

The Lion exhibit at MNH will undergo space expansions this year made possible by your donations from Project Liorama in 2016. These expansions will be followed up with a very exciting reveal of a habitat for the South African Lions who were brought to America, died at the Iowa City Zoo, were mounted and donated to MNH in the 1930's, and have been awaiting a proper exhibit since. The much anticipated completion of their much deserved habitat in Mammal Hall will be made possible by the McCall family and continued gifts in George's name made here:

You can read George's Obituary here: 

George McCall

To make a gift or to learn more, visit