Michael T. McCormick, Jr. was our first child, a boy – and boy did he come into this world in a big way. He weighed 10lb 4oz and was 23 inches long at birth! Needless to say, I gave away all of his newborn clothing!
Michael was a really good kid that wanted to be involved in everything!! His favorites were bike riding, playing flag football, soccer, baseball, basketball, skateboarding and Pokémon.
Flag football was very exciting! The Jets, the team Michael was on, won the SUPERBOWL! After that, he became involved in the West Orange PAL – he played football and baseball in that league, and basketball for the West Orange Mountaintop League. All of this gave him a great foundation for high school sports, and more importantly, taught him how to be a loyal team player.
As Michael grew up, he focused on friends, football and lacrosse. He played both sports in high school, and gave it his all. Michael went to Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange, NJ — he was a proud 3rd generation legacy – his Grandfather, Father and Uncle all graduated from SHP. Michael graduated in the Class of 2008.
Michael loved high school, but was really looking forward to college. He got his GPA up to 3.89, and applied to 10 colleges. When he received the acceptance from Penn State at the University Park Campus, he knew that he didn’t need to look any further. He always wanted to go to Penn State and his dream came true. We took him to several Penn State football games when he was younger, and the thoughts and good memories of Happy Valley stuck with him.
When Michael got to Penn State, he really blossomed. He had two roommates and they became like brothers — Jared and Luis. They lived in what Penn State called “supplemental housing” but what Michael and the others described as “the best room on the floor” – room 520, Geary Hall. When we got there, one of the first things we noticed was that you could see Beaver Stadium scoreboard from their window! WOW!
Michael took to college life with the gusto he did with most everything. He and his two “brothers” all pledged the same fraternity – Sigma Phi Epsilon. He never told me why, he just said that the guys were cool there. They went through pledging, the three of them, like brothers.
We received the call at 3am…he was a BROTHER at Sigma Phi Epsilon!!! All we could say was congratulations, and don’t ever scare us by calling that late again!!
Michael was at every home football game, he actually danced and sang at “the Greek Sing”(we watched him do that on YouTube) but we can truly say that what touched him the most about Penn State, was “The Thon”. He went “canning” with his brothers at the fraternity house and his sister sorority to raise money for The Thon, he bought at least 5 sweatshirts for the event, and finally the day arrived. Michael was so touched and moved by how his brothers were dancing, he and the rest of his fraternity were there cheering them on, and it was all for “the kids”. His fraternity “adopted” two kids, Max and Kyla, for whom they were raising funds. Both of the kids were there with their parents. Michael called us, all choked up to say how emotional it all was. All in all, Michael loved his experience at Penn State.
On Sunday, August 2, 2009, the day after his 19th birthday, and just 2 weeks before he was going back to school to start his sophomore year, an unimaginable tragedy happened. Michael was in the passenger seat of the wrong car on the wrong road at the wrong time. On an otherwise quiet Sunday morning, Michael died in a car accident – he was gone from our lives, but not from our hearts.
In order to make sense of his tragic and untimely death, our family decided to start a foundation in Michael’s honor – the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation, Inc. – it was formed to help deserving students, families and community charities. Since 2009 we have awarded over $300,000.00 in scholarships and donations, and we now plan to continue doing good work in Michael memory in several different ways.
We love you Michael, keep smiling down on all of us!!!
Dad, Mom and Meaghan