Our beloved mother, Hazel Luke McCormack passed away at the age of 93 on June 24, 2017, in Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center located in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts on the island of Martha’s Vineyard due to complications resulting from a stroke.
Hazel was born on December 29, 1923, in Douglas, Georgia to Oscar L. Luke, Sr. and Odessa Tanner (Luke). As the middle child, Hazel grew up on a large agricultural farm in Lax, Georgia with her two brothers, Aubrey L. Luke and Oscar L. Luke, Jr. She spent much of her childhood working on the farm (i.e., picking cotton, feeding pigs and chickens), attending church, singing gospels, and excelling at elementary and high school. As a young girl, her favorite pet was a pig named "Charlotte" that walked her to the school bus stop every morning and was there waiting for her when she got off of the bus every afternoon.
Hazel graduated top of her class from Coffee County High School in 1941 and earned an Associate’s Degree in Business Management in 1943 from South Georgia State College in Douglas, Georgia. While attending college, Hazel met and married our father, U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Lemuel "Lee" H. McCormack in 1942 who was stationed as a pilot training instructor at the Douglas, Georgia Army Airfield. During their 15 years of marriage, Hazel and Lemuel weathered Word War II and were fortunate to travel the world including countries like South Africa, Egypt, Italy, France, Australia, and West Germany. After her divorce from our father in 1956, Hazel moved to Baxley, Georgia where she successfully raised her daughter, Mary Jo, and youngest son, David, as a single parent. A woman successfully raising two children as a single parent in the 1950’s was quite an accomplishment. Especially in a small southern town like Baxley, Georgia. In 1979, she moved to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts to be near her oldest son, Lee, and his family. Once there, Hazel was quickly adopted by the Island’s residents as their “Georgia Peach” due to her southern accent, grace, vivacious personality and witty charm. She lived 28 years at Havenside in Vineyard Haven, and was the longest residing person there. Her favorite past time was “beach combing” where she would gather sea-washed stones and driftwood to decorate her garden. Hazel happily lived her remaining years on the Island that she had grown to dearly love.
Hazel worked as a business/office manager for private businesses, hospitals, and visiting nurse organizations for over 35 years where she helped the business concerns flourish and prosper. It was a well-known fact that Hazel could "pinch a penny and make it squeal!" She was an expert seamstress, an avid golfer, liked to play bridge, and she loved gardening. Truly gifted with a “green thumb,” Hazel was lauded by family, friends, neighbors and passersby’s for her beautiful floral gardens both in Georgia and on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Throughout her life, Hazel was known by all that she encountered as a kind, thoughtful and generous soul who would go to extremes to help those less fortunate than herself. She was truly selfless, always doing anything she could for others.
Our Mom stood just shy of 5-foot tall. Her favorite quote was, “I may be small, but I’m mighty!” Her favorite gospel song was “Amazing Grace.” As it says in the gospel, “’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.” Mom … grace has brought you home now.
Hazel was incredibly passionate and proud of her family. She is survived by her children Lee H. McCormack, Mary Jo McCormack, and David L. McCormack (spouse: Robin); her grandchildren Devin McCormack, Meghan McCormack, Will L. Williams (spouse: Katie), and Harrison L. Williams; her great grandchildren Raven McCormack and Isabella McCormack and Olivia McCormack; her niece Karen (Luke) Jackson; and her nephews Royal Luke, Dewayne Luke, and Donnie Luke.
Please share your favorite memories, stories and photos of Hazel in her guestbook below, and share this page with those who knew her.
Hazel’s graveside service will be held on Saturday, October 21 at 2:00pm in the Oak Grove Cemetery, State Road, Vineyard Haven officiated by Rev. Dr. Leo Christian.