Obituary of Patricia McCormack
Pat McCormack, a longtime Westport resident and award-winning journalist whose writings offered a unique view of midcentury America, died July 26, 2017 in Norwalk Hospital. She was 90.
Patricia Seger McCormack was born June 11, 1927 in Pittsburgh, the daughter of John and Anna Seger. She graduated from St. Wendelin High School in 1945 and the University of Pittsburgh in 1949.
Upon graduation, she embarked on a career in journalism that spanned more than 50 years, much of it as a nationally published columnist and senior editor for United Press International (UPI).
Initially, she was at the Hearst-owned Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph from 1952 to 1957 as health and welfare editor. In 1957, she worked for the Hearst-owned International News Service (INS) as medical science editor. A year later, UPI took over INS and she was made a columnist, her byline appearing in thousands of newspapers around the world.
She remained at UPI until her retirement in 1990. She then worked locally as a reporter for the Greenwich Citizen, Westport News, and Fairfield Citizen newspapers.
In 2014, Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library announced acquisition of her papers. An announcement referred to her as a “trailblazing newspaper woman.”
“In her long career, McCormack wrote about domestic matters, health care, and home economics. Her comments discussed issues serious — ‘Leftover Medicine is Danger’ — and not-quite-so serious — ‘Dumb Jock Jokes May Become Thing of Past,’” the Columbia announcement said.
“Patricia McCormack, at age 75 or thereabouts, was among my first hires as editor of the fledgling Greenwich Citizen,” said founding editor Don Harrison.
“Her credentials over a lengthy journalistic career were impeccable and she quickly established herself as our star reporter. Pat could be gruff on occasion, but she was an indefatigable worker and she had a warm heart.”
“McCormack’s writing offers discrete spotlights on midcentury America,” said Thai Jones, Herbert H. Lehman Curator for U.S. History at Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, in making the announcement of acquisition of her papers.
“Her work offers insights into the minor fascinations and nagging fears of a generation, while largely avoiding the existential threats that shadowed Cold War society. For researchers, these papers will be a fascinating resource for investigations into journalism, gender, and domesticity.”
Pat was married to Don McCormack, also a career journalist and writer, in 1951. They moved to Westport in 1961. She loved the outdoors, walking at Compo Beach and gardening. In later years she volunteered at the Westport Nature Center and joined the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club.
She is survived by her son Chris, daughter-in-law Sarah Doyle McCormack, and grandchildren Ben and Eli McCormack, who reside in Trumbull.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 661 Old Post Road, Fairfield, with a reception to follow in the Parish Hall. There will be no calling hours.
Interment will be held privately in the McCormack plot the first week of August, where Patricia will be laid to rest alongside her beloved husband, Donald.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Pat McCormack to the Legal Defense Fund of the Society for Professional Journalists, http://www.spj.org.
The Harding Funeral Home of Westport is directing the arrangements.