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Hugh Perry McCormick Jr., retired executive of spice company founded by great-uncle

Hugh Perry McCormick Jr., a World War II veteran and a retired executive of the spice, tea and extract company founded by his great-uncle, died of pneumonia Feb. 14 at his Ocean Ridge, Fla., home. The former Guilford resident was 96.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Bloom Street and on Middleton Court, he was the son of Hugh Perry McCormick Sr., a McCormick vice president and spice buyer, and Mary Dove, who played piano at University Baptist Church.

He was a 1938 graduate of City College, where he played center for the Maryland state champion football team and was captain of the swim team.

As a student in the 1930s, he had a part-time job delivering mail in Rodgers Forge.

Mr. McCormick earned an economics degree at the Johns Hopkins University, where he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and captain of the varsity football team. He also wrestled, ran track and played lacrosse.

While at Hopkins, he enlisted in the Navy a month after the attack at Pearl Harbor. He was sent to Officers Candidate School at Notre Dame and Northwestern universities, and was trained in submarine chasing in Miami.

Mr. McCormick became the second officer on a sub chaser in the Mediterranean and participated in the invasions of Anzio in Italy and in landings in Menton in Southern France.

He was later named captain of a submarine chaser in the Pacific. He served in Leyte Gulf and the Caroline Islands. After the war, he remained active in the Naval Reserves and retired with the rank of commander.

He met his future wife, Alice Joy James, while at a Baptist-sponsored retreat camp, Ridgecrest, in North Carolina in 1939. They married in 1944, while Mr. McCormick was between assignments in Europe and the Pacific. They spent their honeymoon on a train from Mississippi to Portland, Ore.

Mr. McCormick, who had worked briefly at his family's business before he joined the Navy, returned to the firm founded in 1889 by his great-uncle Willoughby McCormick.

"I wanted to work for McCormick and go around the world buying spices," he said in a Johns Hopkins alumni publication.

He worked in purchasing and sales, and called on customers in Prince George's County. He worked out of the trunk of his car and was later a tea taster and credit manager.

While at McCormick, he remained active in the YMCA of Central Maryland and helped run its membership drives. He also helped run fundraising campaigns for the United Way.

He retired in 1983 as assistant director of McCormick's division that supplied military and private-label customers. As part of his duties, he traveled around the world to U.S. military bases.

Mr. McCormick was a past director of Heritage Savings Association, a trustee of the Baptist Home of Maryland and was an Advisory Council member of the National Food Manufacturers Credit Association.

He was also a trustee of Brother's Brother Foundation of Pittsburgh and a member of the Navy League and the Reserve Officers Association. He was a member of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association's executive committee.

He was a member of University Baptist Church of Baltimore and attended First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach, Fla.

Mr. McCormick established the faculty chair for endocrinology research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

He was a member of the Elkridge Club, the Ocean Club of Florida, Country Club of Florida and the Manalapan Yacht Club. He enjoyed playing golf with his wife and was a Baltimore Colts and Orioles fan.

"His family was the center of his life," said his son, Hugh P. McCormick III, a Ruxton resident. "He was a modest, kind and engaging man who lived life fully."

A 1969 article in The Baltimore Sun about Mr. McCormick and his wife said they enjoyed gardening together and had wallpapered and painted their home on Lambeth Road in Guilford as a team. They later resided at the Brightwood retirement community.

His wife died in 2004.

A celebration of Mr. McCormick's life will be held at 11 a.m. March 31 at University Baptist Church, 3501 N. Charles St., where his great-uncle had been a founder. Mr. McCormick was a lifelong member of the congregation and headed the deacons and trustees and sang in the choir.

In addition to his son, survivors include two daughters, Mary Meyer and Alice Meiners, both of Ocean Ridge, Fla.; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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