Edward B. "Eddie" Corbett III

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Eddie Corbett, 31; Reached out to all

Edward B. Corbett III, 31, went to Earth Day in Boston every year, and he always made a point of giving homeless people a dollar and a few cigarettes, his family remembers.

"He was compassionate," says his stepfather, Mike Eaton. "People on the street you would shun or ignore, Eddie would go right up to them and talk to them."

A perfectionist at work, Eddie disliked "hackers," says his brother, Shawn P. Corbett of East Greenwich, who worked alongside his elder brother for 11 years. The brothers were self-employed plasterers for Classic Interiors of Narragansett.

Together, they had plastered several mansions in Newport.

"Ed hated people who didn't do things professionally, who didn't care," Shawn says. "Because he cared."

Eddie, who lived on Bank Street in West Warwick, was the eldest of a tight-knit family of full and half siblings who all call each other brothers and sisters. They were reunited in the late 1980s, when Eddie moved from Florida.

He reveled in socializing and having a good time, and took over the grill when the family threw its annual Fourth of July cookout.

"He felt unification," says his brother Daniel B. Casey of East Greenwich. "He just finally felt like this was home, just all one big family, when all of us came together."

Eddie loved to surf, skateboard and hang out at the beach in Narragansett, both for the waves and the cute women.

He was opinionated -- never shy -- and always wore a baseball cap, even to his brother's wedding.

Eddie also dressed in layers -- sometimes wearing three T-shirts he'd take off gradually -- one shirt for work, one for dinner, one for going out.

The extra clothing padded his 5-feet, 8-inch frame.

"He just had everything on him -- ready to go," says his sister Ruth M. Corbett of East Greenwich. "In every season. That was just him."

When they found him at The Station, Ed was wearing two pairs of shorts, two pairs of socks and two fleece pullovers.

Eddie was a collector who hoarded the front pages of newspapers after a big event, coasters from bars, and odd bits and pieces from rummage sales. Once, he found an old roll-top desk and delivered it as a surprise to his brother's house.

He loved Moet champagne and was the first one to buy friends a drink. He doted on his nieces and nephews, taking them canoeing on the Narrow River near his parents' house in Narragansett or buying them treats when the ice cream truck arrived.

Eddie wouldn't just buy for his relatives -- he would buy for all the children who raced up to the truck.

"He remembered what it was like to not get an ice cream," Ruth said.

-- Jennifer D. Jordan, Providence Journal staff writer

Published in The Providence Journal on Mar. 20, 2003
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