Dick McCracken passed away on Tuesday, June 1, after successfully beating back pancreatic cancer and a myriad of other health issues for over two years. He was 82.
In some ways, it was incredible that Dick made it to the age of 20, much less over 80. Born in Corpus Christi in 1938 to Bob and Catherine McCracken (later Catherine Countiss), he became one of the early recipients of penicillin in 1944 (thanks to the Naval Air Station). The treatment saved his life from a deadly infection that left him hospitalized for months.
Then, during his late teens, he survived three serious car wrecks that cut short his baseball aspirations on the Ray High School baseball team and left him with a metal plate in his arm.
After graduating from Ray, he attended Del Mar College and graduated from The University of Texas in 1960. After graduation, Dick landed a job with the Associated Press’s World Wide Photos division in Houston. In 1961, AP transferred him to New York City.
It was there that Dick’s life changed dramatically. The summer after he moved to New York, he met a recent University of Oklahoma graduate from the town of Anadarko, OK, who was herself a new Big Apple resident. They fell in love and got married Labor Day weekend 1963 at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Two years later, they welcomed their first son, Brewster.
Dick then embarked on the great professional calling of his life. He accepted a position as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch in 1966. After he completed Merrill’s training program in New York, he, Lucy, their baby son and their two cats loaded into a station wagon and drove to Corpus over Thanksgiving weekend 1966. Two years later, he and Lucy welcomed their second son, Kevin.
For the next 55 years, Dick lived a life of integrity, persistence, generosity and joy. He worked for the Corpus Christi Merrill Lynch office for all of these 55 years – the last 27 with his son Kevin – and the financial markets were his passion. When asked once what he enjoyed, he responded, “I don’t hunt, fish, golf or play tennis. This is my hobby.”
He did have other passions – photography, swimming (including doing the bay swimming leg in several triathlon relays) and coaching Little League baseball. He was a past president and board member of the Santa Fe Swim Club where for many years he was one of the Early Bird swimmers at 5:30 a.m.
He was a lifelong Christian, a senior warden at Good Shepherd and later a member of Parkway Presbyterian. He and Lucy also supported numerous worthy local institutions and causes including as a member of the Collector’s Club of the Art Museum of South Texas, a President’s Club member at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and a former Board member at KEDT-TV.
In his 50s, 60s and 70s, Dick became an ardent world traveler. His travels took him to all seven continents including virtually all of the European countries, and numerous South and Central American, African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
Most of all, Dick loved being a Rotarian. Dick was a member of the Corpus Christi Rotary Club for 48 years, he served a term as club president, and then he served nearly 30 years as his Rotary club’s program chair.
In February 2019, Dick discovered he had pancreatic cancer. With the help and support of many – most especially Lucy, who served as his love, caregiver and occasional drill sergeant – he successfully fought off the cancer and attendant other health issues until last week.
Dick is survived by his wife Lucy, to whom he was married for almost 58 years. He is also survived by his son Brewster and daughter-in-law Sarah (who live in Austin), his son and business partner Kevin and daughter-in-law Dawn, by grandchildren Courtney McCracken (Dallas), Ashley McCracken (Corpus Christi), and Ford, Stella and Lucy McCracken (Austin). Also, his cousin Coleene McCracken and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, John and Francesanne Tucker, who were helpful to him in so many ways.
Dick loved Lucy, his sons and daughters-in-law, his five grandchildren, and his many friends, clients and colleagues. And Dick McCracken loved Corpus Christi. When all who knew this bright light think of him, we are reminded of his trademark optimistic credo: “The best is yet to come.”
A Memorial Service will be held at Parkway Presbyterian Church on Thursday, June 10, at 3:30 p.m.
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