John (“Jack”) H. McCord, emeritus professor of law at the University of Illinois College of Law, died of complications arising from lung cancer May 18, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was 76. One can measure another by what he or she has been able to achieve. By this standard, Jack surely enjoyed an accomplished life. More importantly, one can be viewed and measured on another level as well. Described as both "the paragon of a law professor" and "one of the nicest instructors in the College of Law" in the student evaluations reported in a 1997 issue of the College of Law newspaper, he was a patient man, a quality listener, and an extremely kind person. He was always able to give his undivided attention at any time it was needed. He never shied away from assisting anyone who sought his counsel, regardless of the time commitment on his behalf. Jack on was born on December 22, 1934, on Long Island New York and grew up in the Village of Lynbrook. He attended elementary school in the Lynbrook public schools and Xavier High School in New York City. After graduation he entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order) but left the Order before taking the formal, public Vows of Religion at the end of Novitiate.
Jack then attended Fordham College (now Fordham University), earning an A.B. in 1957. At Fordham, he served as class president, senator in the bicameral student government, and was appointed justice of the student court. He was also cadet commander of the Air Force ROTC. His commitment to Fordham and active involvement in extracurricular activities earned him an election to the Fordham Club – an honorary and service society limited to twenty seniors and was the distinguished military graduate from Air Force ROTC. He was commissioned a second lieutenant; he deferred serving on active duty so that he could attend law school.
As a St. Thomas More Fellow, Jack attended St. John's University Law School on full scholarship and graduated first in his class, magna cum laude, in 1960. He joined the Law Review beginning in the second semester of first year and eventually served as managing editor of St. John's Law Review from 1959-60. After law school, Jack joined the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the Tax Division. He was detailed in February 1961 to the office of Deputy Attorney General Byron White (later U.S. Supreme Court Justice White) providing legal counsel on various initiatives being considered by the new Kennedy administration including intensive briefing sessions with Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Jack spent three years in uniform as a captain as a judge advocate in the United States Air Force. It was actually the Air Force that brought him to Illinois. Jack’s patriotism and service to his country influenced each of his four children to likewise serve their country as officers in the United States Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. His commitment to the uniformed services continued long after leaving the Air Force, serving as a member of the University of Illinois’ Advisory Committee on Military Education, a member of the U.S Navy League and as an officer of the East Central Illinois Chapter. He was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Parents and Alumni Club (Central Illinois Chapter) and has served as its president and newsletter editor.
After earning a Masters of Laws (LL.M.) in 1965 from the University of Illinois College of Law, Jack joined the faculty as a professor of law thereafter. He regularly taught courses in estate and gift taxation, estate planning, decedent’s estates and trusts, income taxation, corporate taxation, partnership taxation, business planning and occasionally taught courses in corporations, future interests, and professional responsibility. In the late 1970s, Professor McCord became interested in the possibility of computer applications for law. A self-taught programmer, he wrote a number of projection and modeling programs for estate planning tax analysis. From 1991-93, Professor McCord served as associate dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Law. In addition to numerous book chapters and articles in professional journals, he authored, co-authored or edited 14 books. Professor McCord was admitted to the practice of law in New York and Illinois, and federal courts including the United States Tax Court and the United States Supreme Court. He served as a member of the Federal Tax Section of the American Bar Association and its subcommittees on Estate and Gift Taxes and Tax Reform. He has also been a member and Chair of the Tax Section of the Illinois State Bar Association, Executive Committee of the ISBA Section on Business Counsel, and the Section on Trusts and Estates. He is a past president of the Eastern Illinois Estate Planning Council, reporter for the ALI-ABI study of business acquisitions, and consultant to the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation of the United States Congress. Professor McCord was a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Council (ACTEC) and has been continuously listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Law since 1974. Professor McCord was actively involved in continuing legal education. In addition to lecturing nationwide at professional courses and seminars and serving on numerous course-planning committees, Professor McCord was academic advisor to the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), a member of the advisory council for the University of Miami Institute on Estate Planning, and a member of the IICLE board of directors. Jack was very involved with local and community service. He served as a reader and Eucharistic minister in his church and is a member of its Building and Grounds Committee and the Pastoral Council. He was an ecclesiastical Notary Auditor for the Diocese of Peoria. Trained in canon law relating to marriage and marriage cases, Jack assisted those who had been divorced with the process of seeking an annulment. Since moving to his present residence in 1972, Jack was one of the Homeowners Association's principal volunteers, serving as resident agent of the non-for-profit corporation and a regular member of the board of directors and for years maintained the subdivision's pond. He loved his many dogs and was a member of the Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana. Survivors include his wife Maureen of nearly 50-years, whom he met in law school, and married on December 30, 1961; four children: sons John F.X. McCord of Edwardsville, IL, Paul V. and Catherine (Stone) McCord of Grosse Pointe Park, MI, and Maj. David G. McCord, USMC (Ret) and Lisa (McNuley) McCord, of Huntsville, AL, and daughter Maj. Maureen McCord Litwhiler, USA, and Lt Col. Christopher Litwhiler, USA of Alexandria, VA; and 11 grandchildren.
His years of professional development and service brought him more than a few awards and honors. Accolades aside, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in 1963, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Jack faced the dragons his life presented with unwavering moral courage, wisdom, humility, and grace. Jack was a good man. Some individuals are imbued with much goodness; more importantly, others are benefited enormously by such human beings. Jack’s life touched many lives. His community benefited as a result and is poorer in his absence.
Funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 23, 2011 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Urbana; the Rev. Fr. Joseph Hogan will officiate. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery, Urbana. Military rites will be accorded by the VFW 5520. Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sunday, May 22, 2011 at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, Urbana. A prayer service will be held at 3:45 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, University of Illinois College of Law or the Carle Cancer Clinic.
Condolences may be offered at www.renner-wikoffchapel.com.