Obituary: Bernadette Callery / Pitt assistant professor, former librarian at Carnegie museum
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Bernadette Callery was a freshman in college when her close friend, who would later be her college roommate, set her up on a blind date with Joseph Newcomer.
Mr. Newcomer has since described their meeting as "like at first sight": a friendship that deepened until they both realized they should spend their lives together.
Marge Orlando, the roommate who introduced them, said they were meant to be together. The night Ms. Callery met Mr. Newcomer, the two started talking and for 46 years they didn't stop. Every Feb. 11 they would call Ms. Orlando to thank her.
Ms. Callery, of Point Breeze, died Friday of ovarian cancer at The Center for Compassionate Care/Canterbury in Lawrenceville. She was 64.
She grew up in Finleyville and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Seton Hill University in Greensburg and a master's degree in library science from the University of Chicago.
After graduation, she worked at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University as an assistant librarian. Sixteen years later, in 1987, she moved to the New York Botanical Garden Library as a research librarian.
She came back to Pittsburgh in 1994 and became the librarian at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, where she worked with architects and building engineers to create a new library for the museum as part of the recent renovation.
Ms. Callery earned a Ph.D. in 2002 from the School of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh and, after spending 2007 as a visiting professor, joined that school's faculty in 2008.
She was also a supporter of the arts, as a season subscriber to the Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Symphony, but she gave more than her money to the arts.
It was 1982 when Bernadette Callery was brought by a friend into the Pittsburgh Playhouse to help make the costumes for a "Romeo and Juliet" ballet.
Joan Markert, the costume designer and costume supervisor, remembers that day. She was in a meeting when one of the adult dancers brought Ms. Callery into the shop and parked her against a wall. When the meeting was over, Ms. Markert talked to her and handed her a bunch of plastic shopping bags, each with pieces of costumes that needed to be put together. Ms. Callery returned those bags, with the costumes assembled as far as the instructions would go. The ensuing friendship lasted for 30 years.
In addition to her husband, Ms. Callery is survived by a brother, Tony Callery of Ocala, Fla.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete and under the direction of McCabe Brothers Inc.
First Published July 29, 2012 12:42 am