Obituary: John Rodger McCormick

Posted at 3:36 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 17:36:44-04

John Rodger McCormick, 86, of Bozeman, passed away at home on March 7, 2022, and went to meet his Lord and Savior.

He was born December 13, 1935, in Culbertson, Montana, to J. Willard McCormick and Pauline Actor. He and his identical twin, Thomas Ralph, spent their childhood there with five other siblings. He attended elementary school in Culbertson and Havre. In 1948, the family moved to Three Forks where his mother and stepfather purchased the Sacajawea Hotel as a family business. The whole family worked at maintaining the hotel, which was somewhat of a meeting place for the town people.

He graduated from TFHS in 1953. He then attended Western Montana College on an athletic scholarship. He married his high school sweetheart, Sylvia Dunbar, on November 12, 1954. After his sophomore year at Western, he transferred to MSU; for his senior year he returned to Western (when it became a 4-year school and his older brother, George, became the head football coach.) He graduated with a B.E. in Education in 1957. He later earned an MS degree at MSU.

In 1957, he was hired as a teacher and coach (of all sports) at Gardiner High School. By this time, he and Sylvia had two children, Jan and Craig. In 1959, he was offered a position at Bozeman Junior High. At that same time, they added Bruce to their family. In 1962, he was named head basketball coach at Bozeman High School. There he taught World and Russian History along with coaching. His seven years spent coaching basketball were his most enjoyable and rewarding with the young men he worked with. They were a special group of student-athletes who led Bozeman into a new era of winning. They responded by working together to win two BIG 32 conference championships. He was named Vice-Principal of Bozeman Junior High School in 1969. He retired from Education in 1983.

He often said he flunked retirement numerous times. He operated an advertising computer business, motorhome sales, and spent six years as Safety Director for V.K. Putman Trucking. After his true retirement, he and Sylvia became nearly full-time volunteers at the Bozeman Senior Center. He got involved in the Senior Center’s woodshop and produced countless birdhouses, wood toys, and spoons

that he and others sold at the farmer’s market for years. He was also instrumental in developing fundraising programs such as Rest Stop and was on the Senior Center Board numerous times. He was always available to help out wherever and whenever he was needed. He enjoyed this time meeting new people and working with other senior volunteers and patrons.

He was a member of Evangelical Free Church. He helped out in the nursery, and spent many years involved in Marriage Ministry and Bible studies with Sylvia. He also served on the Board of Agape ministry and served on the Northern Mountain District of Evangelical Free Church for several years.

Rodger was an extrovert who loved coaching kids, meeting people on the streets of Bozeman, telling a good story and sharing his unshakeable good humor. He never ran out of energy for his faith, his family, and his community. And we will all miss him very much forever.

Please consider following Rodger’s example in generously volunteering for causes you believe in.

Rodger was predeceased by his parents, including stepfather Max Makoff; sister, Peggy; and brothers, Robert and Rolland.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Sylvia; brothers, Ralph (Linda), Sam (Rosalie), and William; daughter, Jan; sons, Craig (Leisa) and Bruce (Terri); grandkids, Forest (Melanie), Brook (Josh), and Emily (Michael), Matt (Heather), Katie (Brad), Dan (Kelly), and Beth, Cori (Josh), Ben, and Shelby; 15 great-grandchildren; special nieces, Linda Noble and Melissa Dunbar; and special nephew, J.D. Dunbar.

Services will be held at a later date and will be announced here.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.