On December 7, 2020, Dr. Joel Franklin Callins, DDS, transitioned peacefully at home in Bessemer, Alabama after a courageous 13 month battle with pancreatic cancer. At the time of his passing, Dr. Callins was 79 years old and was surrounded by family and loved ones.
Dr. Callins is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Dr. Delsadie Pullar Callins also of Bessemer, Alabama; his children Joel Aldrich Jothan Callins (Dr. Keisha R. Callins) of Macon, Georgia and Jodel Sadie Callins of Birmingham, Alabama; his grandchildren Joel Franklin René Callins, Abigail McKinley Callins, and Julian Amir Green; his siblings Aldrich G. Callins (Lillian Callins) of Birmingham, Alabama, Mrs. Gemima Wiggins (Graham Wiggins) of Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Willis Paul Callins of Atlanta, Georgia, Lilah Callins Tate of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Miriam Callins of Birmingham, Alabama, and Joshua Callins of Jemison, Alabama, and many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins. Dr. Callins was preceded in death by his father Aldrich Callins, Sr. (1977), his mother Odell Moore Callins (2003), his brother Jothan McKinley Callins (2005) and his brother Dr. Rheuben Ezra Callins (2010).
Dr. Callins was born on June 12, 1941 at Lloyd Noland Hospital, in Fairfield, Alabama. He was educated through the City of Birmingham public school system in his beloved Ensley neighborhood, completing his primary school education at Council Elementary School and high school education at Western Olin High School, now known as P. D. Jackson Olin High School graduating in 1959.In 1963, Dr. Callins completed his college education at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (Alabama A & M) in Norman, Alabama earning a Bachelor’s Degree. While attending Alabama A & M University, he was inducted into the Gamma Phi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and remained an active member until his passing. In 1967, Dr. Callins completed his doctoral training at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee earning his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree.Dr. Callins’ dental education at Meharry was financed in part by the State of Alabama’s obligation to provide separate but equal education to African-American students. The remaining expenses of Dr. Callins’ dental education were paid for by Dr. Callins earning money picking vegetables in Wisconsin and driving buses for the Chicago Transit Authority during the summers from 1964-1967. In 1968, Dr. Callins completed his post-doctoral education in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery at Boston University in Boston Massachusetts. In 1969, Dr. Callins completed his Oral and Maxillofacial surgery residency at Harlem Hospital in New York City, New York, where he would later meet his future wife, the former Dr. Delsadie Pullar.Smitten and in love, Dr. Callins began a multinational courtship, flying back and forth between New York City, New York, Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Nassau Bahamas for eleven months in pursuit of Dr. Delsadie Pullar’s hand in marriage.
On January 3, 1972, Dr. Callins married Dr. Delsadie Pullar in Nassau, Bahamas, and after a brief honeymoon, the couple moved to Baltimore, Maryland where Dr. Callins opened a dental practice with Dr. Henry “Hank” Robinson. In 1979, Dr. Callins moved back to Birmingham, Alabama in support of his family due to the illness of his father Aldrich Callins, Sr., and started a dental practice on Bush Boulevard in the Ensley neighborhood. Dr. Callins offered general dentistry and oral surgery services to the community and offered Birmingham’s first 24/7 emergency dental clinic.Dr. Callins operated his dental practice on Bush Boulevard for 26 years and retired in 2005.
In addition to the practice of dentistry, Dr. Callins was an accomplished musician, skilled at playing the piano and the French horn. Dr. Callins also enjoyed travelling, and was blessed to visit Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, Barbados, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Egypt, Israel, The Gambia, and Ivory Coast. Dr. Callins was a member of the Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, where he served in a variety of roles within the ministry of music. Lastly, Dr. Callins spent much of his time in retirement gardening, cutting grass and practicing the trade skills of carpentry and brick masonry, both learned in high school.Dr. Callins was beloved by his community, his church family, many lifelong friends, and his family for his tireless work ethic, boundless generosity and loving spirit, and he will be greatly missed by all.
The funeral arrangements have been provided by W.E. Lusain Funeral Home and a graveside service for Dr. Callins will be held at 11am CST on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at Mount Hope Cemetery in Vance, Alabama. Thoughts and memories may be shared online at https://memories.lifeweb360.com/dr-joel-franklin-callins. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Dr. Joel F. Callins Memorial Fund with America’s First Credit Union in Birmingham, Alabama.