Robert Joseph McCormick Jr.

Robert Joseph
McCormick, Jr.

Longtime Southern California
Business Owner Dies

Robert Joseph McCormick, Jr., a 5th generation Angelino who's family business, McCormick Mortuaries, helped Southern California residents through times of loss for over seventy years, passed away early Thursday morning at the age of sixty following complications from small cell lung cancer. He is survived by his wife, six children and two grandchildren.

Robert McCormick was born the first of nine children to his parents, Robert McCormick, Sr. and Jeanne McCormick of Manhattan Beach, California. He attended American Martyrs Elementary School and continued his Catholic education at Loyola High School, the oldest high school in Southern California. There he began to foster his commitment to community service. As an Eagle Scout, he further demonstrated both leadership and commitment to duty.

In 1972, Robert McCormick graduated from USC College of Mortuary Science. He married Peggy Ann Garner in 1974, and soon after he moved his family to Laguna Beach where he became the general manager of the Orange County branch of McCormick Mortuaries. With his father and grandmother, he expanded the business and helped it become one of the largest family owned mortuary companies in California.

When the business went up for sale in 1991, McCormick seized the opportunity to create his own independent legacy with his young family and purchased the Orange County mortuary locations. The new McCormick and Son Mortuaries have been operating in Orange County to this day. Robert McCormick always reminded his friends and family that to bury the dead was considered a corporal work of mercy in the Catholic faith. His wife and three of his children take pride in continuing this legacy.

A committed Roman Catholic, Mr. McCormick became a fourth degree member of the fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus, and was a founding member of the San Juan Capistrano chapter. But he also celebrated interfaith connections and partnerships. In a recent letter to the family Dean Echols, retired pastor of the Church of Christ, explained, "Many years ago a group of Leisure World residents went to court to object to having a mortuary at one of their gates. Dr. John Paul Pack was pastor at that time and testified in favor of having a mortuary near by. The judge ruled in favor of the mortuary and Bob has shown his thanks by extending assistance to the church ever since. We will miss his friendship, his parties, his invitations to Del Mar, and his professional and ethical decisions as a mortician."

As an avid thoroughbred racing fan and owner, Mr. McCormick was often found at the Del Mar Turf Club in his trademark English Stetson hats. He also frequented legendary Del Mar haunts like Red Tracton's and Bully's. Those in California Thoroughbred racing will forever recognize his skull and crossbones silks.

After decades of hard work and dedication to his profession, Robert McCormick was able to travel to such fascinating and diverse points across the globe as Ireland, the Caribbean, France, Italy, Mexico, Alaska, and Philadelphia. He even accomplished one of his lifelong goals when he traveled with his wife to Egypt, a place he proudly referred to as the birthplace of his profession. There, he visited the ruins of ancient mortuaries, stood at the foot of the pyramids, strolled down sarcophagi-lined museum corridors, and rode a camel in the desert. However, more than anything else, Robert McCormick enjoyed spending time close to home with his family and friends, especially his wife and grandchildren who will greatly miss him.

Visitation will be Tuesday, January 8th & Wednesday, January 9th from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM at McCormick & Son Mortuary, 25000 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 (949) 768-0933. The vigil service will be Thursday, January 10 at 6:00 PM at Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica, 31522 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949) 234-1360. The funeral Mass will be Friday, January 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM, Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica, 31522 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949) 234-1360 The graveside service will be held immediately following the funeral Mass at Mission San Luis Rey de Franca, 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside, CA 92057 (760)757-3651.

Published in Daily Breeze from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7, 2013