Anna Bethel McCormick died peacefully with family at her side March 22, 2016 in Tucson, AZ. Born in April of 1921, Anna was the third of five children, all daughters, born to the Whitaker family of Turlock, California (William Jackson Whitaker and Amanda Violet Koenig).
She is survived by younger sisters Patricia Buckman of Honolulu, HI and Nancy Petersen of the Bay area in California. She was preceded in death by her sisters Margaret Morgan and Barbara Crowell of Turlock and her former husband, John (Jack) Milton McCormick, of Junction City, Oregon.
She is also survived by her four children, John (Jack, Jr.) McCormick of Queen Creek, Judi Christopherson, of Phoenix, Pamela (Penny) Egan of Tucson, and Candace (Candy) Puchi of Tubac, her ten grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.
Anna was very proud of being eighth-generation American. Her ancestors, the Whitakers, arrived in the colonial settlement of Jamestown in the late 1600s and then migrated across the country to settle California in the mid-1800s. After time spent ranching in Utah, her Grandfather became a prominent businessman and land owner in Oakland, CA. Anna grew up in nearby Turlock with her four sisters in a multi-story Victorian. Anna always had great admiration for her mother, whom she described as beautiful and charming.
Anna met her husband, Jack McCormick, the day he drove his new DeSoto automobile in a local parade. Jack owned a service station and tire shop and the newlyweds enjoyed dancing to big band orchestras and golfing at Pebble Beach. They moved to Oregon in the late 1940s where they raised their four children on a bucolic farm.
Adventurous and always trying new things, Anna earned a Bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Oregon in 1970. Desiring sunshine, she soon after moved to Nogales, AZ with her youngest children. Still known throughout the Nogales area as “Mrs. McCormick,” Anna taught English at Nogales High School from 1970 to 1985. As a lover of literature, she was a prolific poet and imparted her passion for prose to her students. In 1985, Anna retired to a lovely home in Green Valley, AZ where she spent many years actively enjoying the company of her children and grandchildren.
Anna’s unconditional love for her family was immense. Anna loved music, laughter, family, gardening, and enjoyed spending time at the beach including the Sea of Cortez and Big Sur areas. Anna was truly a blessing to everyone she knew and one of her best gifts was to inspire and encourage others. She radiated positivity. She will always be remembered with nothing but love and admiration by her family.
Because she loved flowers, no matter where she went her home was always surrounded with blooms. Her family will always remember her singing her favorite song, “California, Here I Come,” especially her favorite line “where the bowers of flowers bloom in the sun.” This verse, along with her favorite flower, the California Poppy, will be placed on her memorial stone.