|City/Town: • Birmingham
|Location Class: • Medical
|Built: • Unknown | Abandoned: • 2020
|Status: • Abandoned
|Photojournalist: • David Bulit
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Dr. Joel F. Callins
He received his education through the City of Birmingham public school system in his cherished Ensley neighborhood. He completed his primary school studies at Council Elementary School and graduated from Western Olin High School, now recognized as P. D. Jackson Olin High School, in 1959. Callins concluded his college journey at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (Alabama A & M) in Norman, Alabama, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in 1963. During his time at Alabama A & M University, he was honored to be inducted into the Gamma Phi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and remained an active member until his passing.
In 1967, Callins successfully concluded his doctoral studies at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, obtaining his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree. His dental education at Meharry was supported in part by the State of Alabama’s commitment to offering separate but equal education for African-American students. He also took on the responsibility of covering the remaining expenses of his dental education. To fund his studies, he worked diligently, picking vegetables in Wisconsin and driving buses for the Chicago Transit Authority during the summers from 1964 to 1967.
In 1968, Callins concluded his post-doctoral studies in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. The following year, in 1969, he finished his residency in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York City, New York. It was during this residency that he crossed paths with his future wife, the former Dr. Delsadie Pullar.
Dr. Callins initiated a cross-border courtship for eleven months, traveling between New York City, New York, Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Nassau, Bahamas, in his pursuit of Dr. Delsadie Pullar’s hand in marriage. On January 3, 1972, Dr. Callins married Dr. Delsadie Pullar in Nassau, Bahamas.
Following a brief honeymoon, the couple relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, where Callins, alongside Dr. Henry “Hank” Robinson, established a dental practice. However, in 1979, Callins returned to Birmingham, Alabama, to support his family in light of his father’s illness. In Birmingham, he began a dental practice in the Ensley neighborhood he grew up in.
He provided the community with a range of general dentistry and oral surgery services, pioneering Birmingham’s first 24/7 emergency dental clinic. Operating on Bush Boulevard for 26 years, he eventually retired in 2005. Beyond his dental profession, he showcased his talents as an accomplished musician, proficient in playing the piano and the French horn.
Notably, Callins had a passion for travel, and he was fortunate to explore various countries, including Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, Barbados, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Egypt, Israel, The Gambia, and Ivory Coast.
He 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, hespent much of his time in retirement gardening, cutting grass and practicing the trade skills of carpentry and brick masonry, both learned in high school. In December 7, 2020, Dr. Joel Franklin Callins, DDS, died in Bessemer, Alabama after a 13 month battle with pancreatic cancer. His clinic has been closed ever since.