In Memoriam: Earl Ronald MacCormac
Earl Ronald MacCormac passed away in his home at the Cardinal Retirement Community on February 12th at the age of 85. He was born to Earl C. and Katherine K. MacCormac in Jamaica NY and grew up in Queens, close to MacCormac cousins, until the family moved to Bristol, Tenn. He attended Yale University and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering. Bachelor of Divinity, and PhD degrees.
In 1958, he married Nancy Hamilton and the couple moved to Davidson, NC in 1960 where he joined the Davidson College faculty in the Religion and Philosophy Departments. He participated in developing their first interdepartmental humanities program, and later became the dean of the Honors College, and Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy and the Department Chairman. He authored 3 books, coauthored 3 and wrote countless articles.
The couple had two daughters and they enjoyed many travels abroad, including sabbatical years in England and India, where Earl was a Senior Fulbright Fellow. He served on the Board of Directors of the Visenshaft Centrum in Dusseldorf, Germany and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Karlsruhe University.
In 1982, he joined the James Martin Administration as the Governor’s Science Advisor. He subsequently spent a couple years as President of the NC Quality Leadership Foundation, and finally 10 years as Research Professor at the Duke Medical Center, studying cognitive functions using PET and MRI.
Dr. MacCormac was a true Renaissance man, with interests and knowledge in a wide range of areas. He often spoke of having three wonderful careers (teaching, politics, research). He was an active church member and community volunteer and a strong advocate for social justice and human equality. He loved golf and summer vacations at Sunset Beach. However, his first priority and abiding love was always for his family.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Nancy MacCormac, his two daughters Ann MacCormac (husband Shawn Fischer) of Raleigh, Susan MacCormac Taylor (husband Andy) of San Francisco, CA; four grandchildren, Ella Fischer, Eddie, Alex and Matthew Taylor; and a sister, Cathy Anne MacCormac of Alexandria, Virginia.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions may be made to The Davidson Trust scholarship fund, Davidson College, Box 7170, Davidson, NC 28036 or to St. Giles Presbyterian Church, for Earl, 5101 Oak Park Rd., Raleigh, NC 27612.