Corbett, Kathryn L.

KATHRYN L. CORBETT Family and friends are celebrating the full and wonderful life of Kathryn L. Corbett who died last week at 99 of natural causes. Born August 19, 1916, Kathryn graduated from Fullerton Union High School and University of Redlands, and received a MSSW University of Missouri. She moved to Humboldt and married George A. Corbett, a local attorney who rose to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate serving his country in both World War I and II. Kathryn was predeceased by her husband George, sister Jean L. Wickett, brother Lee Launer, and her dear friend Alva Quarnheim. She is survived by her sons George A. Corbett, Jr. and Pat Robb, John W. Corbett and his wife Joan, grandchildren Crystal Monroe and George Austin Corbett III, great grandchildren Allora, Ewan, and August, Monroe as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. ACADEMIC, WARRIOR, LOVING MOTHER: After Kathryn was widowed in 1954, she began a 55 year academic career as a Professor at Humboldt State University. Kathryn worked closely with Kate Buchanan. She developed the Sociology Department at HSU, founded Women’s Studies and the Social Work Degrees. She was instrumental in developing the over-65 tuition-free Lifelong Learning Program. She served as Chair of the Academic Senate for 1970-71s, including during the strife of the Vietnam war. She personally oversaw all the Humboldt State demonstrations to prevent violence, and was lauded nationally for these efforts. As a result of widespread faculty and student support to name a building after her, the HSU Administration dedicated the Kathryn Corbett Conference Room next to the President’s Office. Kathryn was the leading fundraiser for the HSU Women’s Athletics at the annual Women’s Walk for many decades. She was honored for her fundraising along with Super Bowl 49ers star Roger Craig at the annual athletic department fundraiser. She fought to get the HSU Association of University Women certified for the University. Kathryn was an active fund raiser for the U.S. Olympic team. She attended five Olympics. After retirement she trained to be an Olympics security guard and volunteered at the LA Olympics in 1984. In field hockey, she had the perfect skill set to diffuse tensions between the Pakistani and Indian fans, and took pride in wearing her uniform the rest of her life. Kathryn’s work within the community received many Legislative honorariums and awards. Highlights were the founding of the Humboldt County chapter of the League of Women Voters, Humboldt Child Care Council, the Friends of the Library, and she was a docent for the Lamphere Dunes. She was instrumental in the development of the Dixieland Jazz Festival and was very active in the Senior Resource Center, Area 1 Agency on Aging. Based on these efforts she was appointed by President Reagan to the attend the White House Conference on aging. She worked with her son John, Dr. Ted Loring, Victoria Onstine and others in converting the Union Labor Health Foundation to a supporting organization within the Humboldt Area Foundation. Early in her career she entered the brick federal building in Eureka at H and 5th. She discovered there were no women’s bathrooms and filed an official complaint. The response was that she was a communist. At the end of the day all the federal buildings of Humboldt County provided restrooms for both men and women; the federal official originally involved was removed from his job. Kathryn was a lifelong supporter of Women’s Rights, and her tireless efforts still provide great inspiration to many people. She loved life, walking, swimming, exercising, and socializing, hiking, gathering berries, and travel. Both her sons went on many trips with her all over the world. Kathryn was a loving mother and grandmother and aunt. As a mother, she was as good as it gets, never wavering or ceasing in her efforts to give aid and comfort to her sons. No matter what the family differences in perspectives might have been, her love always shown through. Many thanks should go to Hospice of Humboldt for helping her and the family during the final months of her life. Special thanks to Timber Ridge in McKinleyville for outstanding service, attention, and for the affectionate relationship they maintained with Kathryn and her family. There will be a Celebration of life on February 27, 2016 at the Baywood Golf and Country club from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Donations in her honor, in lieu of flowers, can be made to Humboldt Area Foundation, Corbett Leadership Scholarship Fund: Humboldt Area Foundation, 363 Indianola Rd., Bayside, CA 95524, (707)442-2993. Please sign the guestbook at under obituaries.

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