Bernstein Funeral Home and Cremation Services

3195 Atlanta Highway, Athens, GA


Dr. John Edward McCormack DVM

May 24, 1935December 6, 2019

Dr. John Edward McCormack, DVM passed peacefully on Friday, December 6, 2019, surrounded by loved ones.

John was born on May 24, 1935, in Elkton, TN to George Edward and Martha Stevenson McCormack who instilled in him a strong work ethic, an insatiable quest for knowledge, a keen sense of humor and a deep love for family and his faith.

John married the love of his life, Janice Smith in December of 1957, beginning a 62-year partnership based on love, respect and lots of laughter. They were blessed with 3 children, Tom, Lisa, and Paul, in whom they vested the importance of family, health, reputation, friends and pick-up trucks – with of course family mattering the most!

John graduated from Pulaski High School, The University of Tennessee and received his DVM from Auburn University in 1960, returning to Auburn from private practice to receive his DVM-Masters in 1972 and his PhD in Theriogenology in 1978.

John spent his early years practicing Veterinary medicine in rural Alabama where he cultivated many life-long friendships. John’s regular visits in the farming communities allowed him to spend valuable time at many a kitchen table where beneficial consultation took place, ideally taking nourishment, especially around noontime!

John left private practice in 1970, to share his passion and knowledge of caring for creatures great and small with hundreds of Veterinary students from Auburn, UGA, LSU and California-Davis. He received the Most Outstanding Clinician Award from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine as well as the College of Veterinary Medicine at California – Davis. In 1994, John was named Veterinarian of the Year for the Georgia Cattleman’s Association (an organization and membership he cherished) and in 1995, he was named the OTS Dr. Fred Davison Award Recipient. The impact John had on his students has rippled to generations of amazing Veterinary practitioners across the country. John also proudly served his country as a member of the US Army Reserves, and was an active participant in the Methodist Church throughout his life as demonstrated with memberships in Elkton UMC, First UMC of Butler, First UMC of Greensboro and Tuckston UMC. He enjoyed singing in the choir, which he knew would have made his mother very happy.

John was a noted author and shared his immense humor with his fans across the globe. He penned over 200 articles and humorous stories in the Hoard’s Dairyman, veterinary publications and even local newspapers. He eventually published a collection of the Hoard’s Dairyman short stories known as Watch for A Cloud of Dust I and II. His writing career culminated with the publication of a series of beloved novels, Fields and Pastures New, A Friend of the Flock, Hero of the Herd, and finally the cherished book of Christmas stories, Santa Makes House Calls.

In addition to his parents, John was predeceased by his sister, Frances McCormack Tankersley.

Left to cherish his memory and retell his tales are his wife of 62 years, Janice Smith McCormack; daughter, Lisa Yee (Wayne Eklund); sons, Tom McCormack (Mary) and Paul McCormack (Kim), as well as grandchildren: Christine (David), Dillon, Maddie, Calli, Cassi, Cort and great-grandchildren: Bella, John Tucker and Mason; brother-in-law: Frank Tankersley, Milton Dixon Smith (Jane) and beloved nieces, nephews and cousins; as well as an extensive network of cherished family and friends.

Funeral services will be Friday, December 13 at 1 p.m. at Tuckston United Methodist Church in Athens, GA, with the Rev. Dr. John Brown officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church. A reception will immediately follow the funeral service. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Tuckston UMC, 4175 Lexington Rd., Athens, GA 30605, or to Elkton UMC, 149 Church St., Elkton, TN 38455.

In John’s honor, enjoy a Moon Pie and RC Cola while sharing a hearty laugh with family and friends.

Bernstein Funeral Home, Athens, GA, is in charge of arrangements.


  • Visitation Friday, December 13, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, December 13, 2019


Dr. John Edward McCormack DVM

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mary Farr

December 15, 2019

My dear old friend Tom, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. What a lovely man your dad was! In the late 90s, he spent a Saturday morning with a couple hundred Cobb County middle school students sharing his enthusiasm for pets and love of writing. Your father leaves a great legacy for you, your siblings, and his grand children.

Whitney Eure

December 11, 2019

Dr. McCormack taught me so much more than Medicine and Animal Husbandry. He taught me how to treat clients and coworkers with respect, dignity and genuine kindness. He taught by example. The six weeks I spent with Dr. McCormack cruising around rural Georgia in that beat up van were among the most astonishing and happy in my career as a vet student.

Wayne & Marsha Crowell

December 11, 2019

John was a wonderful clinician and colleague, an unexcelled teller and writer of stories, and a patient friend and teacher.

We will all miss his welcoming grin and gentle words.

Tracy Terrell

December 11, 2019

Mrs Jan and family we all feel feel your loss of Dr McCormack. I met Dr John as as student at UGA living at the beef cattle center and later as veterinary sales rep. Dr McCormack loved his family, the animals, the profession, the people and most of all life. What a wonderful man that we all will miss dearly. His humor and laughter is what I will remember most. He touched the lives of so many lucky people, students, clients, family, friends, colleagues, and anyone else he met. We all are better for knowing Dr John McCormack. R.I..P. Friend

Karl Yurko

December 10, 2019

I am so honored to have known Dr McCormack and Jan. All of that knew him are so honored. We are from the UGA vet school class of 1991. We were the lucky ones to get on his rotation. We laughed so hard that my belly hurt. Dr. John was the consummate teacher. He loved it. I learned as much, if not more about life and being human as i did about medicine. There are very few as genuine as Dr. John. Barbeque, Moon Pies, and boiled Peanuts...That's all we need!

Steve Weiser

December 10, 2019

Met John at Harbor Club in Greensboro. Enjoyed several rounds of golf with him and he would regale us with numerous stories of his career. A far better Vet and man than a golfer but then we were there for the companionship. I was very lucky to be one of the ones to enjoy his company.

Beverly Mayfield

December 10, 2019

I worked with Dr McCormack for years at UGAVTH. He was a wonderful man and Dr. I know he will truly be missed by all who knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with all.

Raymond Prescott

December 10, 2019

We were very sorry to hear this news, but we know that Dr. John will enjoy Heaven immeasurably since all dogs go there, and our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. I'm sure that with gold streets in the city, God will also have the best set of working pens imaginable, and Dr. John can put away his rope! We grieve with you, Mrs. Jan and family, but we are blessed to have known and been impacted by such a great, caring person who brought joy and help to so many people. Dr. John will live on through wonderful stories and memories, published and unpublished, and we look forward to a day in the future when we will be reunited.

Ward Phillips

December 9, 2019

I was a student of Dr. McCormack’s in 1996 on ambulatory rotation at UGA-CVM. What an amazing man and teacher. Very down to earth. I read 2 of his books, very funny & touching. He will be missed.

Charles Allen Causey

December 9, 2019

Got to spend an entire summer as his student. One of my greatest honors was him allowing me to ride with him. Learned so much, about life, and veterinary medicine from this great man. So very sad for his family, so very thankful for Dr. McCormack.