Eleanor Elizabeth MacCallum, 94, of Sanford, NC, passed away peacefully on July 26, 2023 surrounded by her loving family. \n\nEllie was born on April 23rd, 1929 to Anna and Joseph Chebuske in their house in Manhasset, NY. She was the middle of three siblings, mother to three children, and the wife of an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who later became Undersecretary of Defense. Her long and adventurous life took her all the way around the globe before she and her husband finally settled in Sanford, NC. Ellie called NC home for 20 years where she enjoyed the views from her lake house, the mild winter weather, and having the house that all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren agreed was their favorite place to visit.\n\nEllie’s romance with her husband John Malcolm MacCallum Jr. began in 1951 with a dare, but flourished and endured with love, patience, and dedication. Together they had three children, Maureen, Diane, and John Malcolm III. Ellie and John’s love set a high bar for their children and grandchildren; the couple enjoyed 60 years of marriage before John passed in 2011.\n\nFriends described Ellie as sweet and funny, but her family knew that Nana, as she was affectionately called by her loved ones, was also fierce. She proudly displayed a “Don’t Mess with Texas” plaque gifted to her by family in the southwest, but her family knew to abide by a slightly amended adage: “Don’t Mess with Nana.” Her matriarchal strength was the backbone of a large and pleasantly rowdy family, and an enduring reminder to her progeny: be loving, but firm. Be malleable, but tenacious. She was a living example of the pineapple trinkets she placed as strategic reminders around her home: “Be like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown, and always stay sweet on the inside.”\n\nIf, as Oscar Wilde said, “to live is the rarest thing,” then Ellie was a rare specimen indeed. She stayed endlessly curious and constantly delighted by the world she lived in. Ellie and John traveled to almost every continent, experiencing countries as far-flung as Japan and Australia, everywhere in Europe, as well as closer destinations like Myrtle Beach and the Outer Banks.\n\nEllie’s zest for life extended far beyond globetrotting, however. Even after she put her traveling days behind her, Ellie remained keenly interested in the ever-evolving world, and the people in it she loved. Where her peers might have shied away from new trends and technology, Ellie enthusiastically embraced them, shopping with her son for the newest Apple products or joining her grandchildren on novel social media platforms. Forever a socialite, Ellie’s calendar stayed full. She enjoyed soaking up time with the people she loved and her home was a gathering place and a safe haven for family and friends alike. \n\nEllie lived life on her own terms until the time she said goodbye. A Catholic of strong faith, she believed that she’d pass the next life in much the same way that she lived this one: surrounded by those she loved. \n\nEllie is survived by her three children and their spouses, Maureen Poe (Gary), Diane Edwards (David), and John MacCallum III (Suzanne), her five grandchildren, Laura Edwards, Kate (MacCallum) Collins, Samantha MacCallum, Maribeth (Edwards) Grimes, and Metta Edwards, and six great grandchildren.\n\nEllie’s celebration of life will be held on Saturday, August 5th from 2-4pm for close friends and family at the family’s home. A service will be held at Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery on Monday, August 7, 2023 at 10am.