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William Edward Corbin Jr.
August 24, 1926 – May 6, 2018
William Edward Corbin Jr., 91, of Monticello, IA, passed away on May 6, 2018.
A Civil War Celebration of Life Service: First Presbyterian Church, 211 West 1st Street, Monticello, Iowa at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 14, 2018. Visitation will be held from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Friday, July 13, 2018 and from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 14, 2018 also at the First Presbyterian Church. Inurnment with military honors will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Monticello, Iowa.
A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall at the First Presbyterian Church. Please come share food and memories.
It was a good life, but in the hearts and minds of the many who knew and loved William Edward Corbin Jr., it was truly a charmed life.
Born William Edward Corbin Jr. to Mable Chaloupka and William Edward Corbin on August 24, 1926, in Monticello, Iowa. Many in the community will remember him as "Bill" Corbin "The Local Historian", others as "Puz" and the few and most fortunate as "Dad" or "Papa Bill".
Bill grew up in Monticello, at 321 North Cedar Street, his only home, where his cherished memories where made for 91 years. Bill attended the Monticello Community Schools for 12 years. He was an accomplished track and basketball player graduating in 1945.
At 19, Bill enlisted in the Army of Engineers, where he served in Germany rebuilding bridges following WWII. After an honorable discharge he returned to Monticello. Bill worked for the Milwaukee Railroad until he enrolled at Iowa State College, Ames Iowa, on the GI Bill. During the summers he worked in Elkader, Iowa, at the saw mill. He earned his Forestry degree in 1952. Following graduation, he worked for the Extension Service presenting options to farmers planning timber extensions.
While both attending Iowa State College, Bill met the love of his life Chicagoan Jane Elizabeth Hubbard, at a Presbyterian Youth Fellowship meeting. The couple were married on July 11, 1953 in Chicago, IL. They returned to Monticello, Bill's family home.
Bill established his own business "Corbin's Forestry Service". Over the next 40 years, Bill devoted his time and effort to the trees of Jones County, he also worked with Iowa Electric Light and Power Company spraying brush throughout the state of Iowa.
Bill and Jane had three children. Their first son David Edward passed shortly after birth. David William and Nancy Ann followed. Bill Corbin was a family man. He set the stage for many adventures. Sunday drives in the Model T Ford was a highlight. Additionally, Bill wrote extensively of his family's remarkable history.
Bill enjoyed wood working, restoring antique clocks, adding 5 rooms to the family home and creating models of Civil War artifacts. Bill enjoyed squirrel and pheasant hunting and looked forward to mushroom season. He was a diehard Iowa State fan!
Bill's extensive study in the history of the American Civil War led to the documentation of the men who served during the war from the Presbyterian College at Hopkinton, Iowa. This resulted in "A Star for Patriotism" published in 1972.
Bill's continued research of the campus monument at Hopkinton, Iowa, was instrumental in his creating "Civil War Days" at Hopkinton, Iowa, celebrated yearly for 30 years.
Bill belonged to a Civil War Re-enactment group from Illinois. He taught himself how to play the fife and marched with a chicken on his shoulder, reminiscent of Monticello's Dr. Benadom, who played the fife during the Civil War, but had a robin riding on his fife. After retiring Bill's interest continued in the presenting of Civil War talks to 5th and 8th grade students locally and surrounding areas for several years. Later Monticello senior high school students yearly contacted Bill to set up interviews regarding Monticello history.
Bill was involved with the Jones County Iowa Sesquicentennial Committee in emphasizing the importance of Iowa's First Military Road. His last endeavor involved researching and documenting Bowen's Prairie Cemetery on Highway 151. Including plotting graves, cleaning, repairing and making headstones and establishing a Civil War Memorial area dedicated to the soldiers who died in the war but were buried in the South.
Bill was an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church, Monticello; former member of the Rotary; served on the Monticello Park board; Bill formed a Monticello Beautification Committee, which built large flower boxes, planted with flowers, installed at the corners of 1st Street. Bill was instrumental in the installation of flags along North Cedar Street beginning at Second Street ending at Ninth Street and from Kitty Creek to Oakwood Cemetery. He organized a group of 18 volunteers. 135 flags were flown on National Holidays for 16 years. Flags are still flown today.
Bill was a member of MOLLUS (Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States); past President of Cedar Rapids Civil War Round Table; former officer in the Jones Conservation League; member of the Delaware County Historical Society, life time member of the Jones County Historical Society. Many hours were spent documenting Monticello Iowa and Jones County history.
While travel was not a particular passion for the hometown historian Bill Corbin, travel he did with his wife to many places around the world, with Royal Caribbean International. His favorite ports were Alaska, the Panama Canal and Russia to name a few. He also enjoyed many winter vacations in Miami, Florida. Driving through the southern states when returning to Iowa, Bill enjoyed visiting Civil War battle fields, museums and Confederate cemeteries. Taking a break from his historical research, he enjoyed putting Civil War related puzzles together.
William Edward Corbin Jr. continued writing local history up until the week before he passed peacefully in his home of 91 years listening to his favorites Civil War music surrounded by family.
Bill is survived by his beloved wife Jane of 65 years, his two children; David (Dianne) Corbin of Farley, Iowa; Nancy Corbin (Jan Helge) Pile of Sandefjord, Norway, five grandchildren: Michael Corbin (Alexis Masse) of Cascade, Iowa; Jennifer (Jimmy) Martz of Yukon, Oklahoma; Nathan (Allison) Corbin of Epworth, Iowa; Amy Corbin (Mario Wytch) of Midwest City, Oklahoma; Vanessa Hartner of Klagenfurt, Austria; as well as three great grandchildren; Tanner and Logan Corbin both of Epworth, Iowa and Corbin Martz of Yukon, Oklahoma and many other friends that he considered family.

Submitted by: Richard Harrison


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Last updated on Tuesday, 15-Jan-2019 06:23:25 MST