Hugh P. & Mary McCormick
Laying a Firm Foundation
Lifetime Legacy Award (2014)
The vibrant Christian school that Hawaii Baptist Academy is today attests to the solid foundation laid by our founders and to God’s wondrous blessing on this mission work.
Hugh Pendleton McCormick was born in Mineola, Texas, on January 30, 1895, and grew up in Lincoln County, Mississippi. He attended A& M (Mississippi State), Peabody College for Teachers, Southern Baptist Seminary, and Johns Hopkins University. In 1920 he was appointed by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention as a missionary to Nigeria. He and Mary Reeks were married in 1925. Mr. McCormick became principal of Baptist College and Seminary in Iwo and also supervised the building of the Baptist hospital in Ogbomosho. Mrs. McCormick, who studied at Tulane University and received nurse’s training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, instructed village health workers and took part in the first training school for nurses at Ogbomosho.
In 1947, the McCormicks were transferred to Honolulu to begin a school. The Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia pledged $125,000 over a five year period. Unused army barracks were moved onto land purchased at 1234 Heulu Street and were refurbished as classrooms. The Hawaii(an) Baptist Academy opened in 1949 with 36 students in grades seven and eight. Mr. McCormick served as principal and Mrs. McCormick was school nurse and librarian. By 1953, the school was complete with grades 1-12. High academic standards were maintained with a full curriculum that included Bible classes. There was daily chapel and an annual Religious Emphasis Week. The McCormicks also led in starting an on-site church, Academy Baptist Church, which later became Central Baptist Church.
HBA had grown to 340 students in 1960, when the McCormicks retired to Tampa, Florida. In 1973, the Bayshore Baptist Church in Tampa gave the McCormicks a trip to Hawaii, where they were able to witness the beginning of construction of the new campus on the Pali property.
Mr. McCormick died suddenly on Jan. 2, 1975. Following his death, Mrs. McCormick made several trips to Honolulu to participate in HBA’s special events. On her last visit in 1989, during the 40th anniversary observance, she expressed her delight at seeing the school’s growth: “A look at the roster of the alumni of Hawaii Baptist Academy makes us very proud and convinces us that every effort put forth is very worthwhile.” Mrs. McCormick died May 11, 1992.
Today, HBA has over 4,000 alumni, many in full-time Christian service in Hawaii, across the mainland and around the world. Just as significant are alumni in secular professions who are active in their respective churches, serving as lay leaders and involved in Gospel ministry. The legacy of the McCormicks continues in the lives of HBA alumni who are fulfilling the motto they chose for HBA: Christ for Every Nation.
Current members of the McCormick family include daughter Betty Jean Tucker of Jackson, Tennessee, 10 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. Their son Bill and daughter Kathleen Daughtry are deceased.