Robert Wesley McCormic

Robert Wesley McCormick (aka Bob or RW) left his well-used earthly body on July 4. Independence Day was the perfect day for this WWII Marine to obtain this freedom. Born December 6, 1922, in Latimer, Iowa, Bob was the eldest (and only boy) of 6 who took his responsibility as a big brother seriously and adored his sisters. He married the love of his life, Lavonne Waldorf, on November 25, 1956 and for the past 64 years they loved, raised a family, and worked side by side. And she is the one he wanted by his side in his last days.

  Bob volunteered to serve in WWII and as he told it, all the other guys in the room signed up for Army, Navy, Air Force, so he raised their hand for the Marines. The Iowa farm boy who had never seen a body of water bigger than Beed’s Lake found himself in Hollywood, California training for departure on a huge ship. They never did teach him to swim but when they asked if anyone could cut hair, up went his hand again! They handed him 12 broken clippers which he rearranged into one working pair. We still have them and he was cutting hair with them well into his 80’s. They did tend to over-heat by that time, so he’d put them in the freezer for 10 minutes, then carry on!

  He served in the Asiatic Pacific area, embarking from Hilo, Hawaii on the USS Bowie on August 23, 1945, arriving at Pearl Harbor the next day. He then sailed on September 1, 1945, arriving in Saipan on September 13 and three days later at Sasebo, Kyushu, Japan. He participated in the occupation of that area as a member of Fifth Marine Division until October 20, 1945. He told stories of guarding General Tojo in the yard at his war crimes tribunals. While his military service was serious and a source of pride, his stories of that time were hilarious and always had the room in stitches. From a tent collapse on Peleliu Island to pranks pulled on the officers using the bathroom trench; Bob was a story-teller and prankster extraordinaire.

  Always a baseball lover, after his discharge, Bob left the farm and found his way to the George Barr Umpire School in Florida. He also attended Arthur Murray’s Dance Academy as he had heard that a good dancer was sure to catch the ladies attention! He had offers from pro teams but decided his heart was on the family farm so he returned to Iowa where he was a rural mail carrier, a farmer, and a referee and umpire across the state.

  As his grandsons Travis and Kyle remember, Grandpa Bob ALWAYS had on either his WWII hat or his beloved Yankees hat. He was fortunate to have watched his team play in both the old AND the new Yankee stadium in NYC after a harrowing ride there with his son-in-law Phil Hunt driving. He often said he never quite recovered from that ride!

  Bob was proud of his Irish roots and had quite a store of his own special sayings. His daughter-in-law, Sheila, remembers his “top ‘o the mornin’ to ya” and his sparkling “side smile”. His granddaughter, Jacky remembers his special morning greeting, “Good morning, Glory! How do you dew drop?” Not a St. Patrick’s Day went by without a phone call to his three kids that opened with, “Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya, Paddy. Take two and punch to the right.”

  Bob claimed he was tone deaf musically but he could cut a rug! Granddaughter Liz remembers “May I have the next dance?” whenever he saw her. He and Lavonne were frequent flyers at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, and even appeared in a recent documentary of the Ballroom.

  Bob spent many hours with his best friends, Doc Martin and Doc Wirtz hunting and fishing and pulling pranks; his activities and involvements could fill a book. Among them, he was a proud Mason, served on many boards, the American Legion and the Shriners, but his true loves were family and his farm.

He had three children and got one of each for his passions: a farmer, a retired military, and a songbird/storyteller.

  Two of his great-grandchildren said it best when they were told that Grandpa Bob was gone. Little Hallie burst into tears and said, “But I love him!” And five-year-old Tucker said, ”Now he can farm in heaven, right?” Exactly right. We love him and we will miss his presence but he’s happy farming and maybe even playing a little ball with The Babe up there!

  Bob is survived by his wife, Lavonne and their three children, 7 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren: Julie/Phil of Long Valley, NJ, with children Jacky/Turlough and Liz; Rob/Sheila of Hampton, Iowa, and their children Travis/Whitney (grandchildren Tucker and Hallie); Kyle/Shelby of Latimer, Iowa (grandchildren Cheyenne and Oaklie). Randy/Runnee (grandchildren Ron, Nizer and Raymond).

  In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a contribution to either or

  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will hold a Zoom Memorial Service on Sunday, 7/12/20 at 3 pm CST. Please visit for the Zoom Memorial Service information.


Hampton Chronicle

9 Second Street NW
Hampton, IA 50441
Phone: 641-456-2585
Fax: 1-800-340-0805

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