Willa Marie McCormick

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.


  • Judy and Dan Hoyt Posted September 11, 2022 12:09 pm

    We were blessed to know Willa She was a women I admired greatly. Her deep spiritual life was a witness of God’s love and daily presence in each of our lives. I said the Rosary with her on a few occasions. It was a gift to watch her devotion as she prayed. However, I must add it was rather hard to keep up with her. I know the Choir of Angels were singing as she arrived in heaven. Her beloved husband Vince her parents, sisters and our dear son her son in law Patrick. Willa Rest In Peace as you prepare your whole life to be with God in eternity. Love Judy and Dan Hoyt

  • Diane Kohler Posted September 11, 2022 2:36 pm

    My prayers are with you and your family. Stay strong.

  • Oliver Posted September 11, 2022 2:37 pm

    Willa, you may feel that you are alone , but please know that you are not. God’s presence is with you right now,
    I  pray the Lord keep you close as He carries you with the angels straight up to heaven. 

  • Kevin, Amy, Ethan, Thomas and Meriwether Clemens Posted September 12, 2022 8:20 am

    Willa/your Mama was a truly exceptional person, and her legacy will never be forgotten. Big hugs to all of you from our family.

  • Mary Ellen McCormick Rodgers Posted September 12, 2022 9:43 am

    Aunt Willa was a kind and thoughtful aunt. I remember she sent our family Hummel figurines while the McCormick’s were stationed in Germany. She had lots of energy and was always happy to see you.. Willa met the the Queen again at the pearly gates of Saint Pete. Our prayers are with you all.

  • Mary Ellen McCormick Rodgers Posted September 12, 2022 9:44 am

    Aunt Willa was a kind and thoughtful aunt. I remember she sent our family Hummel figurines while the McCormick’s were stationed in Germany. She had lots of energy and was always happy to see you.. Willa met the the Queen again at the pearly gates of Saint Pete. Our prayers are with you all.

  • lisa Thompson Posted September 12, 2022 11:57 am

    This is a wonderful obituary. Your mother sounds like she was a fantastic lady. I am sure you were very proud of her! I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Nirmal Raj Posted September 13, 2022 11:08 am

    A truly inspiring life as evidenced by her children and grandchildren who follow in her steps. A rare gem in this world we all live in. She will even be missed by those who did not know her well.

  • Peggy Simmons Posted September 13, 2022 9:07 pm

    Condolences to the family Teresa Patty and Jane, and family. Your mom and dad was Exceptional couple. Enjoy talking with them back in the good old days. Didn’t get to see Willa that much but I thought of her. Rest in peace. Until we met again. Your cousin Peggy

  • Tina Barry Posted September 16, 2022 7:40 am

    My condolences to all of Willa’s family. Though we are grateful for this beautiful life of Willa, the sorrow of letting someone we love go is a deep loss and there is no way to not experience grief. I feel it keenly with you, because we just buried my sister 2 weeks ago tomorrow. It is a blessing to have been givin a small glimpse into Willa’s life as I read through her obituary. What a woman full of life and with such a heart to serve. It sounds like she lived her life well, ran the race, fought the good fight and is now at rest in the bosom of her Creator, Lord, and Savior. Well done good and faithful servant. Blessed be God, His love is everlasting.

  • David McCormick Posted September 18, 2022 10:10 am

    She was the best. I loved this photo. Vince had his arms wide, for sure!

  • Greg McNaghten Posted September 22, 2022 2:58 pm

    So sorry to hear of Willa’s passing. Her and my mother Dolores Porterfield were close in years gone by. My Mom often remarked that she and Willa were the farm hands on their fathers farms during the war. I include a picture from that time to remember.Porterfield-Dolores-Willa HaweB.jpg Greg McNAghten

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