Willa Marie McCormick
July 24, 1926 – September 9, 2022
Passed away at home surrounded by family. Preceded in death by husband, Vince; sisters, Patricia Wagner and Catherine Damore; and son-in-law, Patrick Hoyt. Survived by daughters: Teresa Binder (Scott), Jane Hoyt, and Patricia Ahlgren (Tim); grandchildren: Kelli Padis (Steve), James Ahlgren, Joseph Binder, Lillian Ahlgren, Bridget Binder, Matthew Ahlgren, McCormick Hoyt, and Mary-Therese Hoyt; great-grandchildren, Josephine Padis and Jackson Padis.
VISITATION: Tuesday, September 13th from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Wednesday, September 14th at 10:30am, Mary Our Queen Catholic Church, 3405 S. 118th St. Interment with Military Honors, Calvary Cemetery following lunch at the church. Memorials are suggested to Mary Our Queen Catholic Church and St. John Paul II Newman Center.
Willa was raised on a farm in Heartwell, NE with her younger sisters Catherine and Pat. Born to Mabel and Elmer, she was named Willa after her grandfather William Hawe. Her father farmed corn, wheat, cattle, and pigs, while her mother raised white leghorn chickens which were good for frying and laid a nice, white-shelled egg.
Never afraid to play or work hard, Willa was an accomplished athlete during high school and her father’s top farmhand during WWII. Following the war, she left home (first time!), took the train (another first!) to Omaha, and began nursing school at the College of St. Mary. Her adventures in nursing included a stint as the school nurse and physical education teacher at Holdrege High School. She graduated from Creighton University with her BSN in ’54 and joined the Navy during the Korean War as a Lieutenant Colonel. While working as a charge nurse at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, she met and shook hands with the Queen of England who was visiting the injured soldiers in her unit. After the war, she returned to Omaha and worked at the VA hospital. During this time, she met and began a lifelong love affair with a handsome flight instructor in the US Air Force, Vince McCormick. They were engaged 3 months after meeting and married at Omaha’s St. Peter’s Catholic Church in 1959.
As Vince always said, that is when their life began! They were stationed in Germany and traveled throughout Europe with young daughters in their VW bus. Willa’s father died suddenly leaving her mother alone in Heartwell. A transfer to Offutt Air Force Base in ’68, returned them to Omaha to raise their girls and welcome Willa’s mother to live with them until her death in ‘83. Willa continued nursing before retiring fully in 1994.
The glue to this happy woman was a devout Catholic Faith. Indeed, Willa’s life was framed by a steadfast devotion to God’s Will, daily rosaries, Masses, and prayer. All issues could be resolved with prayer and humility. Her mantra was service to God via service to others which was reflected in her career and approach to family. She regularly doused her young girls, their friends, and the men they dated and eventually married, with the reminder that they are not “all that” compared to God and eternity. This devotion, sprinkled with laughter, music, dancing, and sports (esp. NE football and Creighton basketball), was the foundation of her joy, her no-nonsense approach to life’s ups and downs, and her home of 55 years.
Willa was preceded in death by her husband Vince, her sisters Catherine and Patricia, and her son-in-law Patrick Hoyt. She is survived by daughters: Teresa Binder (Scott), Jane Hoyt, Patricia Ahlgren (Tim); Grandchildren: Kelli Padis (Steve), Joseph Binder, James Ahlgren, Lillian Ahlgren, Bridget Binder, Matthew Ahlgren, McCormick Hoyt, Mary-Therese Hoyt; Great-grandchildren: Josephine and Jackson Padis
To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.