About Judge McCormick Wilson
McCormick V. Wilson was born in 1926 in St. Charles, Missouri. At an early age his family moved to Jefferson City where he attended Jefferson City High School. Upon his graduation from high school in 1944, he began his undergraduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He interrupted those studies in 1945 when he joined the United States Navy. He served in the Navy for two years as an Electronics Technician. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, “Mac” (as he had come to be called) completed his undergraduate training at Washington University, taking his A.B. degree in 1949. He thereafter entered law school at the same institution, receiving his Juris Doctorate in 1951. In 1952 “Mac” married Lorna Marshall of St. Louis, Missouri. They had four children: Marshall Wilson (an attorney in private practice in Jefferson City); Samuel Wilson (Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas); Paul Wilson (Judge of the Supreme Court of Missouri); and Katy Wilson Sinclair (Director of Choral Music at the University of Chicago Lab School).
Following graduation from law school “Mac” began his legal career as a dedicated solo and small firm practitioner. He was appointed and served as municipal court judge for 17 years until he was elected in 1978, as a Magistrate (later to become Associate Circuit) Judge in Cole County. He served in that capacity on a daily basis until his retirement in 1996. Following his retirement at age 70, Judge Wilson was chosen to serve from time to time as a Senior Judge on the Missouri Supreme Court and circuit courts around the state.
“Mac” Wilson was always supportive of the idea of judicial education, the goal of which was to achieve more highly qualified members of the judiciary. He was an active participant in the organizational effort by several highly regarded municipal and magistrate judges in Missouri who gathered at the University of Missouri Law School in the mid-sixties to form what was then called The Missouri Municipal and Traffic Judges Association (changed in 1979 to the Association’s current name). Not only was he a founder of this Association, but also, he was honored by that visionary group of judges when he was elected as the first President of the Association. He served admirably in those early and formative years, and in 1976 he became one of the very few to serve a second term as President of the Association. Judge Wilson served as a Director of the Association for over a quarter century, from the group’s birth in 1965 through 1991. He was over the years a very regular presenter at the Annual Courts Conferences. In addition to that, he and Judges Tom Sims and Jack Koslow were instrumental in establishing the mid-year Regional Educational Conferences throughout the state. Those Regional Conferences, which he and Judges Sims and Koslow pioneered, continue even today.
Judge Wilson’s near legendary “Box Theory” is perhaps more than any other reason why he is so often remembered and cited by name in the day to day Municipal and Associate Circuit Court practice. That well known theory teaches that the police, the prosecutor, and the court all have separate and distinct “boxes” within which to work, and that all three should make a studious and concerted effort to stay within their respective “boxes” in their day to day efforts as integral parts of the justice system. Virtually every member of the Association has a clear knowledge and understanding of Judge “Mac” Wilson’s Box Theory, and most have applied those principles more than once during their own judicial careers.
The Board of Directors of the Association on March 2, 2002 unanimously approved “Mac” Wilson’s nomination to receive the George Pittman Award. The award was presented to Judge Wilson at the Annual Courts Conference at Tan-Tar-A Resort on May 23, 2002, and he offered his gracious thanks to the Association for such recognition. He joined Judge George Pittman himself, Judge Robert Guthland, and Judge Tom Sims as the Association’s only four recipients of this rare honor.
Judge McCormick Wilson died on November 6, 2006 at the age of 80. His wife of 54 years, Lorna, survives him. She and her big, black Labrador retriever live in the cozy, cabin retreat she built with “Mac” in Moniteau County. “Mac” Wilson is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Jefferson City. He will always be remembered as a giant of our Association.