Tuesday, February 5, 2019

John W. McCormac, 1926 - 2019

My father, John McCormac, speaking about his war experiences at a veteran's event on August 18, 2017. He was 90 at the time, but as always his thoughts were organized and his recall of those events of 70+ years earlier was phenomenal.

Dad passed away last Friday evening, February 1st, seven days before his 93rd birthday. He was a productive dynamo throughout his life, and his works touched a huge number of people over decades. Many readers here know him, or met him and my mother, Martha, somewhere along the line. Both were (mom, still is) keenly interested in birds and nature.

Below is dad's obituary, as printed in the Columbus Dispatch today:

McCormac, John
1926 - 2019

John W. McCormac, age 92, transitioned peacefully from this world surrounded by his loving family on Friday, February 1, 2019. John lived life with gusto, was a Renaissance man, friend and mentor to many, loving husband and caring father and grandfather. He will be dearly missed by many, including his wife of 66 years, Martha; sons, Jim and Mike, Mike's wife, Patrice and their children, Katie, Kevin, Luke, and Megan, and son John's (1960 - 2000) wife, Tammy and their children, Christa, Shawn, and Tara and many nieces and nephews.

John was born on February 8, 1926 in Zanesville, Ohio to the late Samuel and Phyllis McCormac. At age 17, John convinced his mother to sign a waiver allowing him to enlist in the U.S. Navy. He became an anti-aircraft gunner aboard the USS Thurston, a troop carrier that offloaded Higgins boats that transported marines onto the beaches. He was in the thick of battle at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the Thurston at times besieged by Kamikaze aircraft and other threats.

Following the war, John embarked on a career in law, graduating with a law degree from Franklin University in 1960. His inaugural job was as a trial attorney, a post in which he won 24 of the 25 cases he tried. He later became dean of Franklin University's law school, eventually orchestrating its successful merger into Capital University, where he also served as dean. Among many accomplishments there, he began a successful paralegal program, and was a pioneer in actively recruiting females and African Americans to law school. In 1974, John was elected to the 10th District Court of Appeals, where he served three six-year terms. During the course of his legal career, John authored seven books on law and served the legal profession with distinction in many capacities, including president of the Ohio Bar Association.

A natural athlete, John participated in many athletic pursuits, and also refereed football and other sports. A crack table tennis wizard, his quirkiest sporting opportunity came in the 1950's when the Harlem Globetrotters offered him a contract to play exhibitions during halftimes. He declined, in order to pursue law school, a decision that always left him with mild regret. At age 53, John took up running, and went on to run 38 marathons, and was an Olympic Torch relay carrier in 1996.

He and Martha were long interested in nature. John faithfully volunteered for 25 years at Highbanks Metro Park, where his duties included monitoring bluebird nest boxes. His faith in God was vital to him, and John was a longtime member and deeply involved in Xenos Christian Fellowship. In spite of many serious duties and weighty responsibilities, John never lost his childlike curiosity for new subjects. He was always interested in other people, and wanted to learn what made them tick. When exposed to a new subject, his mind became a sponge. His intellectual thirst was insatiable, and that, coupled with an astonishing photographic memory, allowed him to become versed in an amazing array of topics. He was always willing to help anyone, or lend an ear.

John is preceded in death by his mother Phyllis and father Samuel, and his three brothers Bill, Don, and Scott, and his son John. Visiting hours are Wednesday, February 6 from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at Schoedinger Worthington Chapel, 6699 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085. Funeral service is Thursday, February 7 at 1 pm at Xenos Christian Fellowship Main Campus, 1390 Community Park Drive, Columbus, OH 43229. Burial at Kingwood Memorial Park, 8230 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center, OH 43035 immediately following services. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the John M. McCormac Scholarship at the Columbus State Foundation. Gifts can be made online at foundation.cscc.edu or mail to Columbus State Foundation 550 East Spring St., Columbus, Ohio 43205. Visit www.schoedinger.com to send online condolences to the family.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Dear Jim, I am so sorry for you and your family. Your Dad sounds like quite the man. I know you will miss him. I wish you fond memories and peace.

Jim McCormac said...

Thank you, Lisa, I appreciate it

Dawn Zickefoose said...

Dear Jim, so sorry for the loss of your father. I had the pleasure of meeting your dad and brother once while birding. The apple as is the saying doesn’t fall far from the tree as you display many of the qualities written here about your father. You certainly are rightly proud of your father and he I’m sure was just as proud of you as a son. Having lost my father another man of faith last year, I know the heartache but also the joy of knowing we will meet again. You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers
Dawn Zickefoose

Jim McCormac said...

Thanks very much for your nice comment, Dawn, and my condolences on the loss of your father

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