Gisela Maria McCormick
Born: 11/12/1930 Stuttgart, Germany
Died: 1/3/21 Camp Verde, Arizona
Married: 11/26/1953 Charles "Bill" William McCormick (65 years)
Born to Heinrich and Marie Walker on November 12, 1930 in Stuttgart, state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany.Young Gisela was raised to be proud of her Swabian cultural roots. As a family, she and her six siblings weathered World War II in the ravaged town. And in 1946, Gisela decided to emigrate to the United States.
A few years later, one fine alpine day, Gisela was visiting her sister Hilde in Flagstaff, when a tall, flowing-haired cowboy walked in and caught Gisela's eye. This was Bill McCormick, fresh out of the service. When asked if he wanted something to drink, he answered "just a glass of milk, ma'am." At that moment, Gisela said it was "love at first sight," and, apparently, Bill agreed.
They were married months later in Boulder City, Nevada, November 26th, 1953, and fell into a lovely life in Phoenix, with tyke Eric "Bubby" & baby Heidi "Heidele".
Seeking brisk winters and refreshing views, Gisela moved the family to Flagstaff in 1956. She made their home while Bill started teaching sciences. In 1962, she started at NAU, as Assistant to the Dean of the School of Forestry, where she worked loyally for 31 years.
As a humble family of four, they made countless trips around the wilds of Arizona and three journeys back to Germany, including one cozy trek back from New York in a VW bug. But most of their lovely memories were made just under 7,000 feet in the shadows of the pines and peaks of Flagstaff.
All the while a devoted mother and wife, Gisela was a strong believer in the Baha'i Faith and the equality of women. In character, she was kind, loving, compassionate, religious, strong-willed, frugal, and often, born true from Stuttgart, a 'taskmaster'.
She found many diverse pleasures in Northern Arizona, from cooking German food, skiing the Snow Bowl, hiking the San Francisco Peaks, playing tennis and swimming at the Country Club, touring the natural beauties, from Oak Creek down to Sedona, out on the Navajo Indian Reservation, through the Grand and Walnut Canyons, over Four Corners, the museums, and beyond.
Her German upbringing introduced her to classical music and she never lost her love for it. Beethoven and Mozart were favorites of course, but for rousing good times, nothing would get Gisela waving her arms and stomping her feet quicker than Strauss' The Radetzky March.
Some of her rarest joys were giving her love and care to the Bahá'í School in Bellemont and (naturally?) helping raise her granddaughter, Alexandra "Muffie" McCormick.
Gisela and Bill were playful opposites, so she had her hands full keeping him from runaway science experiments, demonstrating with rogue implements, pillow fighting with the children, and most often proffering his dialog in spirited, if not extended, debates with the anybody who would engage. However, Gisela had mastered the antidote for such antics...a well-directed, "Bill, stop that!"
In their later years, Gisela and Bill would take turns cooking for each other, plan road trips, visit their children and grandchildren across the country, pore over The New York Times, and most religiously make a pilgrimage to Scottsdale to get their hair done.
So, really, Gisela lived in paradise, just east of Flagstaff, blissfully married, mother, and grandmother (for six wonderful decades). To her friends and family, she is Gisela, Mom, Oma, and Omi. But to all, she is joy.
We will always keep her close to our hearts.
She is survived by her son Eric of Huntington Beach and daughter Heidi of Sedona; her granddaughter Kirsten, her husband Ryan, and their children Owen and Emma of Las Vegas; her granddaughter Lauren of Orange, Ca.; her
grandson Phillip of Los Angeles; her granddaughter Alexandra, her husband Alexander, and their daughter Charlie (named for Bill) of Spokane.