Remembering Ed Corboy
by John Coyne (Addis 62–64)
Ed Corboy, the first Peace Corps Staff Administrative Officer for Ethiopia, died on July 14, 2011 in Silver Springs, Maryland after a long illness. Joan, his wife of 58 years, and their daughter Katie, who was born in Ethiopia, were by his side.
After graduating from Georgetown, Ed went to work at a law firm in Washington, D.C., and it was there that he met and worked with Harris Wofford, the first Peace Corps Country Director to Ethiopia. It was at the law firm where he also met, Joan, a young receptionist. Shortly after they were married Joan became a polio victim. That did not, however, slow her down or keep her from working on her many causes or going to Ethiopia.
In 1962, the Corboys along with their five children moved, with the 275 PCVs of Ethiopia I, to Ethiopia. Ed claimed that dealing with us in Ethiopia caused his gray hair, however, I clearly remember seeing him at one of our first dinners at Georgetown University during training and he was gray then. I remember thinking: well, if this old guy can go to Ethiopia, then I can too!
The couple continued to have children, one in Ethiopia and two more after their return to the States for a grand total of eight
After the Peace Corps, Ed worked for several years in PC/Washington, and later with the Civil Aviation Board. Joan and Ed stayed close to many RPCVs from those early years, and they and Peggy Drury (Jimma, Dira Dawa, Asmara 62–64) hosted one of the first DC fund raiser for Paul Tsongas (Ghion 62–64) when he ran for the presidency in 1992.
In writing about his father, John relates:
Dad was the first person I knew who jogged. Granted, he always lit up a cigarette the minute he stopped — but was out there doing it in 1970!! He had the track suit and everything. He even wore a headband!”
Ed stopped smoking in 1978.
John fondly remembers his father as “a nice man, with a great sense of humor; and he did a good job raising his kids in so much as none of us wound up on drugs, or in jail or as teenage parents.”
Those of us who knew Ed and Joan in Ethiopia and in Washington, D.C. for all theses years remember them both as terrific people, with great senses of humor — and they did a good job of raising us too during our two years in the Empire. None of us wound up on drugs, or in jail, thanks in part to Ed Corboy’s good parenting. Thanks, Ed. You’ll be missed.
Ed is survived by Joan, their eight children — Regina, Bill, Mary, Eileen, Nora, Katie, John and Martin and 11 grandchildren.
A memorial service is being planned for the 50th Anniversary in Washington, D.C. this coming September.
You can contact Joan at:
3158 Gracefield Road
Silver Spring, Md. 20904
Phone: (301) 890-7993