Gordon Lester Corbett, 1941-2020
Gordon L. Corbett, 79, of North Yarmouth, passed peacefully from this world to the next on December 19th at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House after a recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. In his own words, he has “gone on eternity leave.”
He was born in Waterville on November 5th, 1941, to Myron L. and Mary (Snitko) Corbett. He had one older sister and seven younger brothers. Gordon graduated from Cony High School in 1959 and the University of Maine at Machias in 1968 with a degree in education. In 1971 he met his future wife, Ruth Estabrook, at a guitar class. Though neither ever learned to play, they were married for over 49 years and raised two daughters, Erica and Katie. He was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church in Yarmouth.
Gordon had a long career teaching sixth grade science in Yarmouth and working with homeschool organizations in Maine and New Hampshire. He established Orbit with Corbett and visited many schools with his science enrichment programs. He also taught for USM’s Extended Teacher Education Program and for the American Institute of Creative Education. He was awarded the Teacher of the Year for Yarmouth in 1979, followed by Teacher of the Year for the state of Maine in 1980 and was one of Maine’s candidates for NASA’s Teacher in Space Program in 1985. Gordon was also awarded the Frank K. Brewer Aerospace Award in 1988 as well as the Outstanding Alumnus from the University of Maine at Machias in 1994.
Gordon loved teaching and felt his students and their parents enriched his life. He had an excellent memory for the names and faces of his students and was always delighted to run into them in the grocery store, on the street, or more recently, as part of his care team in the hospital and at home. “Hey, Mr. Corbett!” or “Hey, Mr. C.,” was always music to his ears.
Gordon’s interests were many. He especially enjoyed working with his hands, whether working on an old car, tinkering in the garage or making special toys with his grandchildren. A master storyteller, full of imagination and curiosity, he was known to say, “I’ve never been bored a day in my life.” Gordon’s beloved Cove in Cutler, Maine, where he so enjoyed spending time with family and friends in the summer, is also part of his legacy. Words fall short of capturing his deep connection to this place.
Gordon wanted to share this quote, a philosophy he took to heart and lived by:
“That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent women and men and the love of children; who never lacks appreciation for the earth’s beauty or fails to express it; who follows his dreams and pursues excellence in each task; and who brings out the best in others, and gives only the best of himself.”
Gordon is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughter, Erica Corbett Klein, and her husband, Christian; grandchildren, George and Vivian, of Portland; son-in-law, Kevin Stanhope, and grandson, Asher, of Gray. He is also survived by six brothers; David and his wife, Cheryl; Ron; Stan and his wife, Donna; Mike and his wife, Cindy; Ted and his wife, Susan; and Greg; sister-in-law, Jean Webster, and her husband, Jeff; brother-in-law, Tim Estabrook, and his wife, Amy; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Gordon is predeceased by his daughter, Katie Stanhope; parents; brother, Bruce, and sister, Myrna Pratt.
Thank you to all his healthcare providers, especially Hospice of Southern Maine. Respecting Gordon’s wishes, there will be no service due to the pandemic. In his memory, please take time to thank someone today for their kindness. The world will be a better place for it. Donations may also be made to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. http://https://www.stjude.org.
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