Friday, August 12, 2022

William Joseph (Bill) McCormack, 83

SOUTHPORT — William Joseph (Bill) McCormack, aged 83, passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 4th after a long fight with cancer. Bill faced this fight like he did everything else in his life, with guts, determination, and a biting sense of humor. He was well known for his semi-regular and widely followed column ‘Member2Member’ which he wrote for the St James community, more than 180 columns in total.

Born in 1939, Bill McCormack was raised in Verona, NJ, the youngest of six children born to Ellen Monaghan and James McCormack. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps and held the rank of Corporal. After his service he enrolled as an undergraduate at Georgetown, studying Economics. He was a businessman his entire life, first in the auto industry, later owning and operating a number of small businesses including jewelry stores, and William J Sweet, the award-winning ice cream and confectioners based in Orlando, Florida.

He and his loving and ever-patient wife Judith (known simply to readers of M2M as “the wife”) were married in 1995 and moved to St James in 2003. He was a well known and well loved member of the community, often seen on the golf course, but just as often in the hospice community of Brunswick County NC, where he worked as a volunteer for 16 years, serving more than 150 patients. He led a fundraising effort to build the Lower Cape Fear Hospice Life Care Center, which was successfully opened in 2012. In 2014 he was awarded the North Carolina Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service.

Anyone who knew Bill knew how proud he was of his three children, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court, the actress Mary McCormack, and Academy Award winning writer Will McCormack. They were a source of much joy for him throughout his life.

Bill had an unfailing clarity about certain things: fairness, right and wrong, and his great subject in his life and writing: treating each other with honor, respect, and decency. He cared passionately about the world we all live in, and just as passionately about each and every person he spent time with. Would he occasionally tease you and give you a hard time? Sure. But would he listen to you, and offer you the shirt off his back? Absolutely. Bill’s great gift to those around him was his sense of gratitude and perspective. Of his time volunteering in Hospice, he wrote, “When you sit with a patient who has a short time to live your own worries disappear. It’s a gift.”

Those who were lucky enough to have known and loved Bill will miss him every day. He was sharp, acerbic, the funniest person in the room but also the kindest. He is survived by Judith, Bridget (Steve Croley), Mary (Michael Morris), Will (Emily Arlook), and eight grandchildren, Matt, Jack, Harry, Anna, Margaret, Rose, Lillian, and Sonny, with another on the way. He did a lot of good in this world, and found many ways to give many, many people peace, respect, and dignity in their hardest moments. He made them laugh along the way, but was never afraid to stand up for what was right. “I have to be honest here,” he wrote in one Member2Member, “I do get a kick out of rocking the boat.”

We lost a good man today.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to: SECU Hospice House of Brunswick

1414 Physicians Dr, Wilmington NC 28401 or online at

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the McCormack family.

Peacock – Newnam & White Funeral and Cremation Service, Southport, North Carolina.

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