Friday, May 26, 2017
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and Drinks will be served.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
804 West Vine St
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Thomas “Mac” McCormick was one of the rare few that had this life thing figured out. He had a calm demeanor, a hopeful outlook on life, and a laugh that would warm your heart. He saw the best in people and often said that everyone is doing the best they can on any given day, so he never judged and was quick to forgive. He was loyal and wise, warm and thoughtful, witty and humble. He wasn’t the life of the party, but the one at the party that everyone wanted to talk to because he had a way of making you feel important and heard and special. He had a quiet confidence in himself that was contagious and had a knack for living in the moment. Mac wasn’t much of a small talker, but a deep conversationalist and a great listening ear; he seemed to have all the answers without directly giving them to you. He was selfless, authentic, sentimental and consistently kind. Even in the last days of his battle, he was asking, “Yeah, but how are you?” He knew what was important in life and made an impact on so many people without even knowing it.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, to Roma (Hardin) and Jim McCormick in 1947, Mac grew up in Kettering, Ohio, as an only child. He graduated from Fairmont West High School and did his pre-med at DePauw University where he was an All-American and Hall of Fame basketball player. He then went on to medical school at Case Western Reserve University, did his residency at The University of Michigan and moved to Kalamazoo in 1978 to work for 36 years as an interventional radiologist at Kalamazoo Radiology. Mac was a compassionate and empathetic doctor, who spent as much time with his patients as they needed to put them at ease and to make sure they understood the process. He didn’t care about titles, was encouraging to coworkers, and liked being part of a team. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he was so lucky to be surrounded by caring doctors and special hospice nurses who, like him, took the time to know the person and not just the disease.
Because he was such a humble person, people didn’t know much of his accolades. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter much about what he did, but matters most of who he was. Mac appreciated quieter moments where he could listen to songwriters, play his guitar or work on ideas for his future book. He connected with many people on sports, while watching a WMU basketball game or shooting free throws in the driveway, and was a quiet, but strong, presence in the stands of his children’s events. He liked going to concerts and art festivals and looked forward to poker nights with his friends. Details mattered to Mac and he had a way of making a card, a gift or a meal special by putting extra love and effort into whatever he was doing.
He was a constant learner and would read three books at a time, often choosing ones that others were reading so he could share in the story with them. Mac continued to challenge himself by taking writing classes at the community college, stained glass courses at the Art Center and cooking classes at his favorite restaurant, Bravo. He ran the Mini Marathon twice in his 60s, designed his own tattoo for his 60th birthday and made every new hobby look so damn easy (except for soccer and volleyball, he was pretty bad at those). He often thought about what his next job would be: possibly a farmer, a teacher or an author, and we knew he would excel at whatever he decided to do. It’s difficult to think of a fault other than not having enough time with him.
Though he was such an accomplished person, his most important roles in life were being a husband and our father. Married for 27 years, Mary was his girl and he was her guy. They were a perfect counterbalance as she brought energy and wore her heart on her sleeve, while he was a reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment. Both independent people who had interests and passions of their own, they loved being active together, enjoyed sharing their dreams and goals and knew the importance of surrounding themselves with the love of friends and family. They are undoubtedly soulmates, and their love will continue to be a wonderful example to their children.
Some people may find our family dynamic odd, but we were blessed that divorce strangely enhanced our lives as a family unit and brought us all closer together. Dad had a unique and special connection with each of his kids and we never doubted how supported and loved we were. Ben loved fishing and playing the guitar with him and shared special times with him on camping trips. Melinda shared his love for music and will miss those insightful conversations over dinner and drinks as he always had a clear perspective on what is important in life. Quinn cherished the little moments with Dad like going to the bookstore or going grocery shopping because he always made it fun, and she looked forward to catching up with him every night after work to share about the day. Cullen loved playing basketball, watching boxing and solving puzzles in the newspaper with him. Maria, Dustin and Lydia also held special places in his heart and were quickly embraced as extensions of the family. His grandchildren: Miles, Marin and Brynn, knew him as Papa Mac, and all began building their own special connections with their grandpa. Years ago, he began the tradition of an annual family vacation where we created so many memories with him and because of him. Our father had a strong tie to his Irish heritage and our trip to Ireland in 2004 will be one never to be forgotten. His grateful heart will continue to beat on through his children and his grandchildren. He was so proud of his family and we were insanely proud of him.
Mac grew up as an only child in a small home, so his dream after retirement was to build a place where he could share his space and welcome others. After ten years of planning, Mary and Mac’s dreams became reality in their retirement home in Bangor. You can see him in every detail of the house from the Celtic doorknocker at the entrance to the quiet spaces with local artwork on the walls to the floorboards you walk upon that he helped build. He found peace and solitude working on projects and being outside on the property. Even with the huge void that is felt with his passing, his light and life can be felt throughout the home.
Before he left, he said, “You only have to say goodbye to one person, imagine having to say goodbye to 500.” Though that one person means the world to us, he wished he could have shared a moment with all of the people that he cared so much for. So to honor him, do something in his memory. Go fishing with your kid, write a handwritten letter to an old friend, do something nice for a stranger, have a drink (or two) at O’Duffy’s or Bell’s or just stand outside in nature and remember him. Listen, instead of talk, hug someone like you mean it, and remember to enjoy the little things in life, as they are really the big things. We are better people for having known him and the world is a little less without him in it.