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Gwynneth Sybil Clifton McCormick

August 22, 1926 - September 4, 2022

Gwynneth Sybil Clifton McCormick Gwynneth Sybil Clifton McCormick
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Gwynneth “Gwen” McCormick, passed away on September 4 at the age of 96 in St. Charles, Illinois. She was a practical, common sense Englishwoman to her core. Her sense of right and wrong was deeply personal and unshakeable.

Gwen was born in the village of Godmanchester, England. She attended local schools and cherished her rural small town upbringing. When World War II began, she moved for a short time to London and endured the blitz by taking shelter at night in air raid shelters and subway stations. She was quick to say that being in a city that was bombed nightly was a frightening and traumatic experience. She couldn’t wait to get back home to family and friends.

When she returned to Godmanchester Gwen worked in a local mill that manufactured military uniforms. When the United States entered the war and built one of their largest airbases nearby, thousands of young American soldiers began to arrive bringing Hollywood, big band music and the jitterbug to her sleepy little village. Gwen loved going to the movies and being invited along with other village girls to Red Cross dances at the base. It was at one of these dances that she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” McCormick, whom she married after D-Day.

When the war ended, Gwen moved to Robert’s home in Chicago. She worked as an office clerk at RR Donnelly Publishing while he attended college on the GI Bill. When he graduated they began thinking of starting a family, but Chicago was never home to Gwen. She was a small town girl and wanted to live away from the city.

On one of their Sunday drives, they discovered St. Charles on the Fox River. In 1953, along with hundreds of other “baby boomer” families, they bought a home and raised a family. Gwen was happy as a mother and homemaker. Her steak pie and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding were Sunday classics. She had been an active Girl Guide in England, so she became a Girl Scout leader and active PTA member at Munhall School. She was an accomplished knitter who created intricate Irish knit sweaters and blankets. When her grandson entered one of her sweaters in the county fair she rolled her eyes and proclaimed it “silly”, but she displayed her blue ribbon on the refrigerator door for years after.

As her children approached college age, Gwen began working at the State Bank of St. Charles. She was employed there for over 20 years and never took a sick day. Gwen enjoyed gardening and reading. She maintained extensive flowerbeds at their home on 6 th Street and for a few years on Pringle Court in Hastings, Minnesota. She would always include a few pots of red geraniums even though she did not like them. They were Bob’s favorites, so they got a special place near the front door. One of her proudest possessions was a Public Library card. She read every day. Her children would tease her that she always read the same book – a tragic love story with a nurse as the heroine. Her preference was so consistent that the librarians would recognize new books that she would like and set them aside for her.

Gwen was a confirmed royalist who defended the Queen with the determination of a bulldog. She did not care about celebrities, except for Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones and the Beatles. Even though her interest in sports was limited, she learned the rules of football so that she could appreciate watching the Chicago Bears every Sunday. She liked to tell people that she shook hands with John F. Kennedy when he was campaigning for president in Geneva, Illinois; that he was a “lovely man”, but she would not vote for him as he was too young to be president. Nevertheless, she grew to admire him and grieved his loss with the rest of America as if he were a close family member.

Although Gwen couldn’t swim a stroke, she loved to be near the water. She and Bob had a small lakefront cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin, where they spent their weekends puttering around on their pontoon boat. Later in retirement, they spent the winters in Florida. She would walk for miles on the beach and always made time for a glass of wine with Bob and guests on the balcony at sunset.

Gwynneth lived a happy and meaningful life. She was one of the “greatest generation” of men and women who gave a lot and expected little in return. She will be greatly missed. The family likes to think that when Queen Elizabeth passed away Gwen was waiting on the other side with a hot cuppa tea. Surely, they would reminisce about long lives well lived.

Gwen was preceded in death by her husband, Robert McCormick, with whom she enjoyed 70 years of marriage, her brother, Frank Clifton, and her sister, Daphne Rowley.

She is survived by her daughter Pamela (Tom) Sullivan of Hastings, Minnesota, her son Steven (Sidney) McCormick of Geneva, Illinois, and two grandsons, Andrew (Christine) McCormick of Noblesville, Indiana, and Matthew Sullivan and his fiancé, Clare Healy of St. Paul, Minnesota.


Joseph F Budde from Maple Park, IL

"Steve, Sorry for your loss, she lived a great life and gave you and so many others much love."

Steve Martin from St. Charles , IL

"Steve, I am so sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing. I was fortunate to have been able to work with her all those years at State Bank. She was like a second mother for so many of us. I always enjoyed our conversations, which continued for decades after we worked together. She will be missed. I hope you gain comfort through your memories and in knowing that she will be reunited with her beloved husband. You and your family are in my thoughts."

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