Sunday’s Obituary – William E. McCormack

This is my great grandfather, William E. McCormack. I am not sure what the “E” stood for. It could have stood for Edward. I don’t know. My dad used to tell a story about when Grandpa William was asked what the “E” stood for. He said it stood for nothing! The McCormack men were not big on using their full middle names. The lone exception, so far as I know, was one of William’s younger brothers, John Michael McCormack. He used his middle name ALL the time. William and the rest of his brothers were “initial” men only. Go figure!

William McCormack in front of his house in Otter Lake

William McCormack in front of his house in Otter Lake

This is his obituary.

The Obituary of William E. McCormack (1853-1943)

The Obituary of William McCormack (1853-1943)

This is his obituary as it appeared in the 28 April 1943 edition of the Flint Journal of Flint, Michigan.(1) There is one correction to it that I want to make. William was barely 3-4 months old when his parents, Michael and Catherine, came to the United States. For some reason unknown to me at this time, he was born first then his parents got married and THEN they left for the United States. They left Kilkenny, Ireland and made their way to Liverpool, England. From there, they traveled aboard the ship S.S. Dirigo to New Orleans, Louisiana.

As it was written in his obituary, he was the owner of a general store in the village of Otter Lake. He moved from Ypsilanti, Michigan to Otter Lake about 1882. I haven’t found a reason why he moved from Ypsilanti, a city of 4984 to Otter Lake, a village of unknown size in 1880. It could be that Otter Lake was a “boom town” at the time. Lots of timber around the area. Anyway, the house that he built in the early 1880’s is still there 130 years later.

McCormack House in Otter Lake

McCormack House in Otter Lake

Although it doesn’t quite look the same. But that is a story for another post! I will tell you this, of the houses in the immediate area, there are no finer houses! In 1893, he was commissioned postmaster of Otter Lake.(2) Today, the post office is almost across the street from his house. Back then I have no idea where it was. It could have been adjacent to his store which was just down the main street of the village. It was only one block to his store. It mentions that he was married twice. His first wife, Lura Grace Roys, unfortunately died in 1895. I have a memorial book for her. If I ever find a way to properly display it online, I might. His second wife, Lavina Jane Hemingway, would be a distant relative of Ernest Hemingway. In my humble opinion, Grandma Lavina was a very pretty lady. Her relatives were all over the Otter Lake area. My dad, who was born in 1937, was old enough to have remembered spending some time at his grandfather’s house in the early 1940s. I guess his grandfather like to trip my dad and his brother with his cane as they raced about the house!

Lavina J. McCormack

Lavina J. McCormack


1. “William E. McCormack,” Obituary, 28 Apr 1943, Flint Journal (Flint, Michigan), accessed 31 Mar 2012.

2. “Postmasters Commissioned,” Saginaw Evening News (Saginaw, Michigan), 26 Jul 1893, p. 3, col. 3.


7 thoughts on “Sunday’s Obituary – William E. McCormack

  1. Pingback: A wedding invitation | The Otter Lake Express

  2. How fascinating! I’ve come across this history of my family, I am the daughter of Elizabeth Palmer (Lura and Dudleys). I’d love to be directed to more information and history on our family. Thank you for all the hours of research you have put into those.

    Liked by 1 person

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