Jimi Helen McCormick

Jimi Helen McCormick, a first lady of the McCormick spice, seasonings and flavorings firm, died Friday of cancer at Stella Maris Hospice. She was 74 and had homes in Reisterstown and Stuart, Fla.

Born Jimi Helen Faulk in Jackson, Miss., she lived in Southern California as a child. After her father's death, she was partially raised by aunts and uncles in Methodist parsonages in Mississippi and Louisiana, where she attended schools.


Her mother, Minnie Rae Faulk, was a Washington dressmaker. She made apparel for first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

After her 1980 marriage to Charles P. "Buzz" McCormick Jr., the chief executive officer and board chairman of McCormick & Co., she often appeared with him at company functions.

"Jimi was so revered that she became the first nonemployee to receive the company's C.P. McCormick Award for exceptional service," her husband said. "She developed many friendships with company customers, first in our packaging subsidiary in California and then with the parent spice business."

He said his wife played a "significant part" in attracting new customers when she became involved with conventions and sales meetings. She traveled the world with her husband while they cultivated business.

"She was a warm and wonderful lady," said Harry Wells, the retired McCormick chairman and chief executive officer who lives in Palm City, Fla.

Mrs. McCormick rode horseback and was a crew member on racing sailboats based in Annapolis. She also played golf and supported children's charities.

Her husband described her as a "wonder cook" who "had a way with seasoning chicken."

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Grace United Methodist Church, Charles Street and Northern Parkway.

In addition to her husband, survivors include two daughters, Donna Shin of Annapolis and Janice Griffin of Frederick; a sister, Sylvia Martorana of Washington; Mr. McCormick's children, who include two sons, Charles P. McCormick III of Towson and William C. McCormick of Centreville, Va., and two daughters, Linda Bertazon and Gail M. Lamb, both of Baltimore; and 17 grandchildren.