Mary Virginia McCormack, 90, died unexpectedly Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, surrounded by her loving and grateful family.
She was born July 5, 1926, to George Arthur Lang and Aileen Anna Faherty in Chicago.
On Sept. 12, 1953, she married Dr. Joseph McCormack in Chicago.
She led a full life of unwavering devotion to faith, family and community.
She grew up working in her father’s corner grocery store on Kostner Avenue. She graduated from Siena High School in 1944. She attended Mount Mary College, Wauwatosa, Wis., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education. She went on to teach at Tennyson Elementary School in Chicago.
She was among the first summer staff to re-open Yellowstone National Park following its closure during World War II. Upon her first sight of the majestic expanse of the Teton mountain range, she was awestruck. Thereafter, regular pilgrimages to Wyoming ensued, whereby she shared her passion for the unparalleled grandeur and the wild, uncompromising beauty that resonated within her soul.
She and her husband were brought together through the social dances hosted by their Chicago west-side parishes of Resurrection and St. Thomas Aquinas. Their romance blossomed into a marriage that spanned almost 64 years, taking them from Chicago to the newly built suburbs and ultimately to their home overlooking the Kishwaukee Valley west of Woodstock.
Her Catholic faith was the cornerstone of her life. She instilled in her 10 children a deep love for the faith that still grows today through the lives of her 20 grandchildren. The one thing she desired most was that her children and grandchildren stay close to God.
In her eyes, motherhood was not a mere offshoot of matrimony but rather a sacred vocation. Along with the inexhaustible generosity of her husband, she dedicated herself to her children with joyous self-sacrifice modeled on that of the Blessed Mother. The intensity of her devotion increased with each of her children whom she welcomed into the world as a gift from God. Her greatest joy was to be surrounded by her 10 beloved children, whether all dressed in matching pajamas on Christmas morning, taking up an entire pew in church, or packed like sardines in a maxi-van heading west on I-80.
She and her husband were longtime members of St. Mary Church and supporters of St. Mary Grade School and Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock. She loved the arts and was a member of the Woodstock Fine Arts Association. She was an advocate of preserving the small town, rural atmosphere that made Woodstock unique.
Survivors include two sisters, Andrea (Summers) and Nancy (McFeeters); her loving husband; 10 children, Mary (Don) Harboway, Joseph (Cathy), Anthony (Teresa), Francis (Mary Kate), David (Heidi), Martin (Anne Marie), Peter (Ellen), Colin (Joanne), Cecilia (Kevin) Skelton and Robert; 20 grandchildren, August, Regina, Paul, Grace, Clare, Monique, Molly, Helen, Luke Francis, Maria, David, Áine, Mary Margaret, Brigid, Colin, Rosie, Aidan, Maura, Luke Patrick and Amelia.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 312 Lincoln Ave., Woodstock, with a 7 p.m. prayer service. Visitation will continue at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, at St. Mary Catholic Church until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. The family will gather at a later date in Jackson Hole, Wyo., the place Mary loved so dearly, for a private Mass at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church and interment at Aspen Hill Cemetery where Mary will be laid to rest, next to her parents, with a view of her beloved Grand Tetons.
Donations can be made to Right to Life McHenry County, www.righttolife-mc.org; or St. Mary Guardian Angel Fund, www.stmary-woodstock.org/admission/guardian-angel-fund.
Arrangements were made by Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home.