C. James McCormick, who lunged into trucking and became chairman of American Trucking Associations, died on May 22. He was 92.
McCormick’s broad experience in trucking included produce hauling, less-than-truckload with federal regulation, deregulated truckload and selling trucks and trailers. He swept his sons and grandsons into the industry, including C.J. “Mac” McCormick III, who died days before he was to become ATA chairman in October 2006.
Gary Langston, president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, said of the elder McCormick: “He was a founding father of our association and highly revered. His impact was phenomenal. When you talked with Jim McCormick and were around him, you were going back to the beginning of the trucking industry. He was there every step of the way.”
McCormick entered the LTL world in 1954 when he sold his produce-hauling business that he started at the end of World War II, according to an obituary prepared by his family. He combined Indianapolis & Southern Motor Express Co., McDaniel Freight Lines and J.A. Grant Trucking into I&S-McDaniel.
Clarence James McCormick II was born Jan. 3, 1925, in Knox County, Ind., to Emma and Clarence McCormick — a southern Indiana farming family with political connections. He graduated from high school there in 1942 and enrolled in Purdue University but left before graduating in order to work.
Much of his interest in politics and policy came from his father, who was an assistant secretary of agriculture in the administration of President Harry S. Truman. The interest propelled him to ATA and a 1970-71 term as chairman.
Sensing that deregulation would bring major changes to trucking, McCormick sold his carrier in 1977, three years before Congress discontinued regulation of routes and pricing. He concentrated on his truck and car dealerships but came back to trucking in 1981, offering assistance to son Mac, who founded Bestway Express, a dedicated contract carrier in the family’s hometown of Vincennes, Ind. Bestway is now run by Patrick, also a son of James’, and three of James’ grandsons: Will, Ry and Eli.
He is survived by his second wife Marilyn, sons Mike and Patrick, and daughters Jane Wissel, Barbara Hanson, Julie Barclay and Margy Hanson as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
His first wife, Bettye McCormick, preceded him in death after 50 years of marriage.