Arthur McCormick Jr. sometimes joked that he was even prouder of his Marine Corps service than he was of the five children he obviously cherished.
"You're still not Marines," he would say when they protested, said one of his daughters, Maureen McCormick of Huntington. She said, "He was just a good-natured, good-hearted man."
McCormick, 82, of Huntington, died last month of a degenerative brain disease. But even that disease, which robbed him of his ability to speak for the past two years, did not dim his personality or his ability to communicate, his daughter said.
"He had the most expressive eyes," she said. "You always knew what he was thinking."
McCormick was born in Brooklyn and worked for the Long Island Lighting Co. for more than four decades after he served in the Marines during the Korean War. He also chaired the Toys for Tots program in Huntington, run by the Marine Corps League.
McCormick was a quietly devout Catholic, and as proud of his Irish heritage as he was of his family and service in the Marines, Maureen McCormick said.
He also was fond of awful puns, known in the family as "Poppyisms," she said in her eulogy. He could always be counted on to answer the question "What's up?" with "The sky," she said.
Michael Rocco of Melville, a friend from Chapter 792 of the Marine Corps League, remembered McCormick as a vivid character.
"He was a strong-willed Irishman," Rocco said. "He commanded respect."
McCormick could be lighthearted and warm, but when there was work to be done, Rocco said, "there was no fooling around."
That extended even to the chapter's participation in Huntington's St. Patrick's Day parade. McCormick led the chapter and insisted that it march properly, like Marines -- so much so that he routinely ignored his cheering family every year on New York Avenue.
But his devotion to his family showed in many other ways, Maureen McCormick said. He and his wife, Anne, saw the value of education and put all five kids through college, even though he never went. They hosted an annual family retreat for their children and grandchildren at their camp in Pennsylvania.
And he instilled a clear moral sense in his family, she said.
"He did not suffer fools lightly," she said in her eulogy. "For him fools were bullies or people who took advantage of others; the self-important or cruel. You could not budge him on an issue of morality -- and, to be honest, on some less important issues, too. If he believed he was right, you've never seen a jaw set so tightly."
McCormick also is survived by his wife, Anne; three other daughters, Loretta Shekailo of Jensen Beach, Florida, and Mary Ellen Jaworski and Susan Civello, both of Huntington; a son, Michael, of Sands Point; and 16 grandchildren.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Northport VA Medical Center or to Chapter 792 of the Marine Corps League in Huntington.