Cover photo for Willis Junior McCormick's Obituary
1925 Willis 2021

Willis Junior McCormick

March 19, 1925 — February 26, 2021



Willis J. McCormick

Proud United States Navy Veteran of WWII -

Willis J. McCormick, age 95, of Mechanicsburg, passed away on Friday, February 26, 2021.  Willis was born on Thursday, March 19, 1925, in Carlisle to the late Viola Blanche (Hamaker) Bigler.  In addition to his mother, Willis is preceded in death by his daughter, Karen M. Sileo; and his two brothers: Robert “Bob” Leroy Bigler and George “Pud” Richard Bigler.

Willis’s survivors include his three children: Cindy L. McCormick of Phoenix, AZ, Willis “Bill” J. McCormick, II of Mechanicsburg, Michele A. Phillips and her fiancé, James Matolyak, of Carlisle; his grandchildren; and his great-grandchildren.

Willis enlisted in the United States Navy on 12/11/1943 at the young age of 17.  His active duty begin on 1/6/1943, where he went on to serve during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.  Willis received four Bronze Stars for his participation in the Invasion of Sicily (1943), Invasion of Normandy (6/6/1944), Invasion of Southern France (1944), and the Invasion of Okinawa (1945).  He was responsible for navigating Landing Ships (LSTs) on amphibious US Naval assaults. (A LST, or tank landing ship, is the naval designation for ships first developed during World War II (1939–1945) to support amphibious operations by carrying tanks, vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto shore with no docks or piers.)  Willis was honorably discharged as a Seaman First Class on 2/12/1946 after three years, two months, and two days of proud service to his country.  In addition to receiving the Jubilee Medal in 1994, Willis was awarded the Thank-You certificate, both from the French government.

Following the service, he worked several jobs until starting a career at the Defense Depot in Mechanicsburg as a laborer in 1949.  After 40 years, including his time in the Navy, Willis retired as a packer foreman from the Defense Logistics Agency.  During his career, he received two Sustained Superior Performance awards and several outstanding performance ratings.  Willis was also active in the Civilian Welfare and Recreation Association, the DDMP Supervisors’ Guild, and bowling and softball leagues.  Following his retirement, Willis found himself most content at home watching game shows, soap operas, but mostly Westerns; his favorite show was, “The Rifleman”.  He also enjoyed being outside and doing yardwork.  Willis liked to try his luck with scratch-off lottery tickets and go out to eat at Red Lobster, where he always ordered the Sailor Platter.  Family was always of the utmost importance; they will remember how loving and determined he always was.

Willis’s family will be remembering his life privately.  Burial in Westminster Cemetery in Carlisle, with full military honors presented by the Cumberland County Honor Guard, will be at the family’s convenience.

While Willis’s family will not be accepting flowers, they invite those wishing to celebrate Willis’s life with a memorial contribution to make them to any veteran’s organization of the donor’s choosing.

Willis’s family has entrusted his care to Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421.  Read Willis’s full obituary, view his portrait, offer condolences and sympathy, share stories and memories, upload photographs and videos, light a candle and sign his official guest book by visiting

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