Mary Wilson Russell McCall, the daughter of Quincy Wilson and Dora May Williams, was born on October 7, 1919 in Chillicothe, Texas. She graduated high school in Vernon, Texas, and enrolled at Baylor University in 1936 when she was sixteen years old. While pursuing her English degree, McCall met Lloyd Russell, senior captain of the Baylor football team. The couple married in August 1937, the same year McCall became a member of the Baylor Round Table. Over the next few years, the Russells moved around the state as Lloyd coached baseball and football teams for various colleges. As McCall neared the completion of her degree from Baylor, she transferred to North Texas State Teacher's College where she finished her studies.
When Lloyd joined the Navy during World War II, McCall moved to Denton, Texas for three years and taught high school English and mathematics at North Texas State Teacher's College. Following the war, the Russells moved back to Waco where Baylor University President Pat Neff offered Lloyd a position as the Department Chair of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. In 1965, McCall earned her Master of Science degree from Baylor with certification in guidance and counseling. She then worked as a teacher and guidance counselor in the Waco Independent School District. In 1968, Lloyd passed away from a heart attack.
On Christmas 1970, Mary married Abner Vernon McCall, President of Baylor University. As the First Lady of Baylor, McCall was charged with designing and overseeing construction of the President's home on campus. McCall remained active throughout her time at the university. She was a charter member of the President's Club and founding chair of the Baylor Round Table Scholarship Committee. McCall was active in the Waco community as well. She was a Sunday School teacher and trustee for the First Baptist Church of Waco and was a member of the Historic Waco Foundation and the Brazos Forum. McCall passed away on November 13, 2014 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco.
More information about Mary Wilson Russell McCall can be found at the Institute for Oral History.