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Dr. Mike McCormack's children are his greatest accomplishment

June 18, 2011|By MAEGAN CLEARWOOD | maegan.clearwood@herald-mail.com
  • Dr. Mike McCormack, right, is pictured with his family earlier this month at his son Kevin's graduation from Saint James School. They are, from left, Kevin, Michael, Diane, Maura and Emily.
Submitted Photo

Sitting on Dr. Mike McCormack's desk is a paper-clip holder made from popsicle sticks. It was a gift from his oldest son, Michael, when he was 6 years old, and it's Mike's most-treasured Father's Day present.

Today, Michael is 25 years old, engaged and studying medicine in New Orleans. Mike's three other children — Emily, 24, Maura, 20, and Kevin, 18 — are also adults, but Father's Day is still a special event.

The holiday is a celebration of family, and McCormack's children are his greatest accomplishment, he said.

"Being a father is the most important role I play," said McCormack, 54. "I'm proud of a lot of things in my life, but I'm proudest most of being a father and providing for my children."

Emily works for a consulting company in Bethesda, Md.; Maura just finished her junior year at Providence College in Rhode Island; and Kevin graduated from Saint James School this month and will attend Fordham University — his father's alma mater — in the fall.

Raising four children on top of his career as an oncologist at John R. Marsh Cancer Center was no easy task, but McCormack had his father's example to follow.

His father, Thomas, was a salesman who had five children.

"He was my one and only role model," McCormack said. "He taught me everything important, that family is the basis of life."

McCormack's father encouraged him to pursue whatever he wanted in life, but still influenced how his son practices medicine.

"I practice the way my dad would if he were a physician," McCormack said. "He just told me to do whatever I wanted to do. 'Whatever your potential, I'm sure you'll fulfill it.'"

As a child, McCormack said Father's Day was nothing fancy, just a family picnic.

"Dad never expected anything. He downplayed Father's Day, but we wanted to go out of our way for him," he said. "Selflessness, that was his greatest strength."

McCormack said his children were very close to their grandfather. Although his father was from Long Island, McCormack and his wife, Diane, and the children managed to visit him three or four times a year.

For some time after his death nearly five years ago, Michael wore a wristband with his grandfather's initials.

"I think of him virtually every day," McCormack said. "How would my dad do this? How would he do that?"

Aside from a day of remembrance, Father's Day is a chance to get all four children together. Hopefully, three of the four will join him this year, he said.

"My children are my life," McCormack said. "When my kids hurt, I hurt. How beautiful, that you can love someone that much."

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