Robert M. McCormack, M.D.
1918 – 2010
Robert M. McCormack, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Plastic Surgery and Chairman of the Division of Plastic Surgery from 1950-1983 died December 16, 2010 in Ocean View, NJ at age 92.
Dr. McCormack was born in Sheboygan, WI, son of a physician. He received his BA degree, with honors, from Swarthmore College, where he was an All American lacrosse player, and his MD degree from the University of Chicago. He came to the University of Rochester as a surgical intern in 1943. After further surgical training, he entered the U.S. Army Medical Corps in World War II and was assigned to the Hand Surgery Section at Beaumont Army Hospital, El Paso, TX. This was the spring board for his life long interest in hand surgery. Following military service, he returned to Rochester to complete his residency in Plastic Surgery in 1949.
After a year of private practice in Milwaukee, WI, he was asked to return to Rochester to assume the leadership of the Division of Plastic Surgery at the age of 34. He served as Chair for 33 years until his retirement in 1983, educating more than 50 plastic surgical residents and countless medical students. Dr. McCormack was appointed Professor of Plastic Surgery in 1957, Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery in 1968 and Director of the Burn Unit in 1975.
Dr. McCormack knew how to listen, delegate and give credit to others. These qualities lead to numerous national and international leadership positions. He served as President of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the American Burn Association. Additionally, he was Chairman of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the Residency Review Committee for 6 years. His membership in the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, the British Association of Plastic Surgeons and the British Association for Surgery of the Hand re?ect the breath and strength of his leadership skills.
Honors for Dr. McCormack included the Clinician of the Year Award from the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Chicago, the Honorary Award of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, the Gold Medal Award from the University of Rochester and the Albert David Kaiser Medal from the Rochester Academy of Medicine. He was also elected to Alpha Omega Alpha as a faculty member by students at the University of Rochester. His broad palate of interests and accomplishments is re?ected in his being named to the Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary All-American football team in 1964. Counted on that team were many distinguished individuals, including a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Robert Morris McCormack was a humble man, not caught up in a desire for worldly possessions or personal recognition but rather driven by the need to impart values of personal and professional life that are generative and sustaining. He was an exemplary teacher, a compassionate physician, a skilled surgeon, a respected statesman, a devoted friend, a role model without parallel and a valued colleague without replacement.
He was predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Marjorie Carter McCormack. Surviving are three sons, Steven McCormack of Oakland, CA, Robert B. McCormack, of Cape Cod, MA, Carter J. McCormack, M.D. of Greenville, SC and 4 grandchildren.