Mary Elizabeth McCormick



Mary Elizabeth McCormick, 79, of Indianapolis, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Born April 3, 1935, in Aurora, she was the daughter of Nathan and Izora Elizabeth Chatham.

After graduating from Indiana State University in 1957 as a member of Delta Gamma sorority, she married and raised four daughters, who were the loves of her life.

Her love of art was realized when she became an art teacher in 1970. She retired after 26 years, including the last 14 at South Decatur High School. With much love and compassion, she touched the lives of and inspired hundreds of students during her career.

She was often remembered fondly for her beautiful smile, infectious laugh and big sense of humor. Whether it was the paint color in her home or the clothing in her wardrobe, her passion for bright colors was ever present.

Later in life, after retiring in Columbus, she was an avid painter and enjoyed traveling, spending time with her family and sitting for her grand-dogs and -cats. Mary cherished her membership in Columbus First Church of the Nazarene, Decatur County Teachers Association, Indiana Retired Teachers Association and the National Education Association. Having never met a stranger, she made friends everywhere she went. Mary loved all animals and was a frequent visitor to the elephant barn at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Mary is survived by four daughters, Cheryl (John) Belles, Jane McCormick, Laurie (James) Pfaffenberger and Mary Beth (Richard) Oakes; two grandchildren, Amanda (Chuck) Owen and Bradley Belles; a great-granddaughter, Cameron Elizabeth Owen, who was named after her great-nanna; and numerous cousins and dear friends.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her grandson, Nathan Neal Pfaffenberger.

In celebration of her life, a memorial service will be held April 4 in Indianapolis. This event will coincide with Mary’s 80th birthday weekend.

Online condolences and tributes can be made at

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Indianapolis Zoo and its care for African elephants at: Indianapolis Zoo, 1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46222 or contact the zoo at [email protected] or call 317-630-2049.

Memorial gifts also can be made to St. Vincent Hospice online at

Arrangements were handled by Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel, Indianapolis.

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