RICHARD McCORMACK
1928 - 2020
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McCORMACK RICHARD ELIOT McCORMACK Richard Eliot McCormack, 92, of Alexandria, VA, died peacefully on July 25, 2020. Born to Harold and Clara McCormack in Boston, MA, on March 10, 1928, he is survived by Caroline, his beloved wife of 50 years; his children Jan Evered, Richard, Robert, Lisa, Patrick, William, Carol McDonnell, and Daniel; 19 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; his brother Edward and sisters Judith Mitchell May and Kathleen St. Onge. He is preceded in death by his son David, daughter Maureen, and brothers David and James. Dick served in the Navy from 1945 to 1949 as assistant to the chaplain of the USS Macon. While in the Mediterranean, he finagled a private audience for his shipmates with Pope Pius XII. He married Mavis Anne Blackburn in 1946; they were divorced in 1968. He was the father of four when he graduated Stonehill College in 1953 as vice president of the school's second graduating class. Six decades later, in a profile in Stonehill's alumni magazine, Dick capsulized his love of life and sense of adventure with the observation, "There's always something exciting to do in this world." Dick was an editor at the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service from 1953 to 1956. After researching Massachusetts' solidly Republican 13th congressional district, he ran for office. In 1956, Sen. John Kennedy asked how his campaign was going. "I told him I needed two things: money and prayers." Kennedy responded, "I'll pray for you." Dick lost by less than 300 votes. After serving as Special Assistant to Mass. Gov. Foster Furcolo, Dick returned to Washington in 1958 as Special Assistant to Sen. Vance Hartke before joining Kennedy's presidential campaign as an advance man. He served on the Inaugural Committee as Director of Transportation and, from 1961 to 1963, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Congressional Relations. Two weeks after political satirist Mark Russell brought a writer for NBC's "The Tonight Show" to see his friend from the Treasury Department sing at the Carroll Arms Hotel in October 1962, Johnny Carson invited Dick on the show, where he sang "Moon River" and regaled the audience with stories of his eight kids, noting, "My youngest daughter thinks she's an only child and we hired the other seven to entertain her." Two months later, Carson invited him back on the show. After President Kennedy's assassination, R. Sargent Shriver hired Dick as Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the newly launched Office of Economic Opportunity, which created VISTA, Job Corps, and Head Start. From 1967 to 1969, Dick produced and co-hosted with Petey Greene the Emmy Award-winning public affairs program "Where It's At" on WETA-TV. "Me and the white boy," Greene wrote in his autobiography, "used to really go at it on television. People would be amazed because we could really get hot at each other. And in the dressing room, we would cool out, you know. He was really a good guy, Dick McCormack." In 1970, Dick married Caroline Trucano, a former nun, and moved to Puerto Rico for two years to train Peace Corps volunteers. He returned to Washington as the Public Affairs Officer for NASA's Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications and its fledgling space shuttle program. In 1982, Dick, now the father of ten kids, bought 30 acres in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and spent his weekends planting 8,000 grapevines with the help of his friend Brad Johnston. In 1988, he launched the award-winning North Mountain Vineyard & Winery, which he sold in 2002. From 1984 until his retirement in 1995, Dick served as the Director for Community Services at the Defense Department's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. Always ready for the next adventure, Dick donated his body to Georgetown University School of Medicine. A celebration of his life will be held in a post-pandemic world in which we can raise a glass of North Mountain Vineyard wine and dance to Sinatra after a memorial Mass at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA, where he was a longtime member of its folk group. The family suggests donations in his name be made to your favorite charity.Always ready for the next adventure, Dick donated his body to Georgetown University School of Medicine. A celebration of his life will be held in a post-pandemic world in which we can raise a glass of North Mountain Vineyard wine and dance to Sinatra after a memorial Mass at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA, where he was a longtime member of its folk group. The family suggests donations in his name be made to your favorite charity.

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Published in The Washington Post on Aug. 2, 2020.
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