MARION - Raymond L. McCormick, 92, passed away peacefully at 3:15 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in the Veteran's Community Living Center of Marion.
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He was born on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 1921, in Marion, the son of Ray and Ora (Cothran) McCormick, being one of five children.
Raymond attended school in Marion and was a graduate of Marion High School in 1939.
During high school and shortly after graduation, he worked for the Cline Vick Drug Store of Marion. Then on April 22, 1940, being 18 years old, he became Robert's Insurance Agency's first full-time employee and was determined to do well. His efforts paid off and he was soon promoted from clerk to an insurance agent. He worked with Robert's for the next two years until he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in August of 1942.
He faithfully served the next three years in the South Pacific Theater and was involved in the taking of the Japanese Island of Iwo Jima. He personally saw from a distance the raising of the American flag that is famously known today. After the successful capture of Iwo Jima, he returned to the United States and enrolled in officer training school to become an officer. Shortly after he had enrolled the war ended, and he was honorably discharged on Sept. 20, 1945.
Raymond returned home to Marion and was pleased to find his position with Robert's Insurance waiting for him to start again and he remained there for more than 65 years.
Raymond was united in marriage to Helen Absher on March 2, 1944, in First Baptist Church of Marion and together they shared nearly 17 years of marriage until her death on Feb. 22, 1961.
After her death he was united in marriage to Berniece Gray on Oct. 20, 1961, also in First Baptist Church of Marion, forming a new family with a total of four children from previous marriages. He and Berniece had two children together for a total of six children in the McCormick family; Michael, Kitty, Robert Scott, Tammy, Jeff and Dana.
Raymond has always been very active in Southern Illinois and the Marion civic and sports area. After returning home from service, he helped organize the first Chamber of Commerce in Marion, and became its first secretary. In 1999, he was awarded the honor of the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by Marion Chamber of Commerce.
He served as a Marion City Council Member from 1948 through 1954 and ran for mayor twice; the first being in 1959, but was defeated by Robert L. Cooksey and again in 1963, but was defeated by Robert Butler who still currently serves in the position.
He was very active on the Marion Recreation Board and involved with little league baseball managing from 1948 through 1976 as a coach and trainer and in 1958 one of the teams won the state championship.
He was a faithful member of Marion First Baptist Church for the last 84 years. He was baptized when he was eight years old. He also served as Sunday school teacher for more than 50 years and was actively involved in many other activities of the church including serving as deacon.
He also was a member of Marion Heyde-Pillow VFW Post 1301.
Raymond was an avid Cardinal Baseball fan, traveling each spring to Florida for spring training. He also delivered meals for more than 25 years for the area "Meals on Wheels Program" even up until two weeks before his death. In his spare time he enjoyed spending time at the Marion Senior Citizen's Center, bowling, golfing and spending time with his family and keeping up on all the many activities they were involved with. The many memories that have been created will now be cherished by those he leaves behind.
Survivors include his wife, Berniece McCormick of Marion; three sons and daughters-in-law, Michael and Nancy McCormick of Sumter, S.C., Robert Scott and Vicki McCormick of St. Peters, Mo. and Jeff and Dena McCormick of Marion; two daughters and sons-in-law, Kitty and Jack Henderson of Nashville, Tenn. and Dana and Mark Mucci of Huntsville, Ala.; 11 grandchildren, Ian McCormick, Kristin Morgan and her husband, Kevin, Ben Morgan and his wife, Amber, Clark Mitchell and his wife, Sara, Patty Mitchell, Matt Pankey, Michele Pankey, Duncan McCormick, Connor McCormick, Juliana Mucci and Jackson Mucci; three great-grandchildren, Ander Mitchell, Abigail Morgan and Lucas Morgan; two sisters and one brother-in-law, June and Robert McKinney of Westchester and Helen Ohms of Marion; son-in-law, Darwin Mitchell and his wife, Debbi of Carrier Mills; other extended family; and many good friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Helen; a daughter, Tammy Mitchell; a brother, Robert J. McCormick; and a sister, Betty McNeely.
Services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, in First Baptist Church in Marion, with the Rev. Dr. Bob Dickerson officiating. Interment will be in Rose Hill Cemetery of Marion. Military honors will be conducted at the graveside by members of Heyde-Pillow VFW Post 1301, American Legion Post 147 and Illinois National Guard Flag Detail all of Marion. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the church.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Building Fund or The Veteran's Community Living Center both of Marion.
For additional information, or to leave an online "Condolence of Memory" or light a "Candle in Memory", visit our website at www.wilsonmcreynolds.com.
Published in The Southern Illinoisan on Feb. 10, 2014