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1918 - 2012 Obituary Condolences
Oscar M. Corbin, Jr.

May 8, 2012

Oscar M. Corbin, Jr., 94, of Fort Myers, Florida, died on May 8, 2012. He was born on the Corbin farm near Nebo, Hopkins County, Kentucky, on May 3, 1918. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1940 with a B.S. in agriculture. He was commissioned a 2d Lt. in the Army Air Corps on December 5, 1941, and he was assigned to an air gunnery instruction squadron at Buckingham Field near Fort Myers. By the end of World War II he was promoted to the rank of Major. After the war he served in the Air Force Reserves and retired as a Lt. Colonel.

In 1942 he married Wilhelmina Mathis of Panama City, FL, who survives him. He always said that she was the best thing that ever happened to him. She was his constant companion, partner and best friend for 70 years. He is also survived by his three children, William M. Corbin (Mary) of Bainbridge Island, WA; R. Thomas Corbin of Fort Myers, FL; and Virginia Corbin (Randy) Henderson of Fort Myers, FL; and 13 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, all of whom visited him in the weeks before his death.

Oscar survived his parents, Oscar M. Corbin, Sr., and Artibel Givens Corbin, and his three siblings, John G.(Sue) Corbin, Mary Jane Moore, and William B.(Betty) Corbin. Mary Jane's husband, Ray Moore lives in Auburndale, FL.

In 1946 when his service in World War II ended he returned to Western Kentucky where he taught vocational agriculture until he opened a feed store with his brother John in Providence, KY. He was elected and served on the city council in Providence.

In 1951 Oscar sold his half interest in the store and moved to Fort Myers where he purchased a feed store in downtown located at the corner of Main and Monroe Streets, "Corbin Farm Supply." Within five years his parents and siblings followed him to Fort Myers. In 1955 he opened another feed store in Naples and in 1959 he opened a retail warehouse store on Edison Ave. In 1960 he opened a garden store, "Corbin Garden Center," on Colonial Blvd. By 1966 he had sold his retail businesses and for the next 20 years he was a real estate broker. He built, owned and sold apartments and other commercial real estate developments, all of which prospered.

Oscar was the Mayor of Fort Myers from 1967 to 1976. During his term he worked with the city council to improve the city's finances and its bond rating and to make many lasting improvements to the city. The present City Hall building was built during his term and a few years ago it was appropriately named in his honor. From 1985 to 1989 he was appointed by the Governor and served on the Board of the South Florida Water District.

He loved his community. He worked on many charitable fund raising drives, such as Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts; community organizations: FM Kiwanis Club, Edison Pageant of Light, garden clubs, Mason's, Shriner's, PTA's, SW Florida League of Cities, Lee Memorial Hospital board, Greater FM Chamber of Commerce, and committees to attract businesses and colleges to Fort Myers. He served in leadership positions in most of these.

He was a lifetime member of the Methodist Church. Oscar and Mina were raised in the church and they joined the First United Methodist Church of Fort Myers in 1951. Oscar was an active member who participated fully in the life of the church.

Oscar loved being involved with his family, his friends and his community. He loved people. He remembered everyone and he wanted to know everything he could about the people he met. He had dozens of friends and he enjoyed nothing more than getting together with friends, which he did at every opportunity. Lately, he enjoyed lunch with the FM Kiwanis Club and the men of the Summit. He golfed, played bridge, square danced, boated, traveled the world, dined and partied with his friends. He was a private pilot and loved his flying days.

He had a long retirement and he enjoyed good health his whole life, although he had some difficulties in his later years. Old age finally slowed him down and stopped him but he kept his good humor to the end.

He had a wonderful life, as he always said. He had a wonderful wife who loved him for 70 years. He had a wonderful family. He was a successful businessman and Mayor. He had dozens of friends. He would want you to remember that he had a long, happy life. And he would wish you the same.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at the First United Methodist Church, Fort Myers, FL.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Fort Myers, 2466 First Street, Fort Myers, Florida 33901; The Salvation Army of Fort Myers, P.O. Box 60078, Fort Myers, Florida 33906; and Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers, Florida 33908.

Published in The News-Press from May 13 to May 18, 2012
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