Retired Navy Captain James T. Corbett left the field of play on the evening of Jan. 1, 2020 after a heroic 28-month battle with metastatic melanoma.
Jim was born on May 15,1948 in Chelsea, Massachusetts as the first child of Thomas F. and Margaret E. Corbett. Jim was raised in the Revere and Malden suburbs of Boston and graduated from Malden High School in June 1966. Following his graduation, he entered Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts where he was enrolled as a civil engineering student. During college Jim met and began what would be a 50-year journey with his soul mate Janet Ann Beard. Following his graduation in May of 1970, Jim joined the U.S. Navy, where he would spend the subsequent 27 years in service to his country.
Immediately following his commissioning as an ensign, Jim married Janet in Wethersfield, Connecticut on Nov. 6,1971. Jim and Jan commenced a 28-year odyssey that would have them respectively serve the military and civilian communities of Port Hueneme, California; Charleston, South Carolina; Diego Garcia; Mayport, Florida; Norfolk ,Virginia; Philadelphia; Monterey, California and San Francisco; Key West, Florida; and North Island/San Diego. During this time Jim had two command billets: Commanding Officer of NMCB4 and Commanding Officer of Navy Public Works Center, San Diego, California.
Wherever they would travel Jim and Jan were the consummate host and hostess, as well as friends to all, mentors to young people and active citizens of their community.
Early in his naval career Jim took an interest in physical fitness. It was a full-time vocation and overwhelming passion for him. This led to Jim’s completion of one of the earliest Ironman Triathlons, a Boston Marathon, a Western States One Hundred and numerous other marathon and ultra-distance races throughout the country.
Jim was also interested in team sports, fishing, bicycling, hiking, sailing, flying, guitar, piano, opera, theater, golf, tennis, lawn bowling, cooking, rafting, canoeing, kayaking and writing. Jim was interested in others, leading him to always ask, “How are you doing?” and he meant it. He had a great capacity to care for his fellow persons.
To say James T. Corbett was a man of many passions would be similar to saying that Leonardo DaVinci was a pretty good drawer.
Following Jim’s retirement from the Navy he pursued many of his passions with additional vigor, if you can imagine that! Jim taught several sessions at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, taught literacy, was a Big Brother, earned Master’s degrees in both English Literature and U.S. History, taught at the junior college level, wrote a book, recorded a compact disc, explored Yellowstone and Glacier with his Rendezvous Crew, traveled the world with Jan, fished, hosted, floated and entertained with Jan in their second home in Helena, Montana.
Jim is survived by his wife of 48 years, Janet Corbett of Coronado; his brother Tom (Maggi) Corbett of Helena, Montana: his niece Alex Corbett of Lolo, Montana; nephews Chris Kosena and family of Missoula, Montana: Marcus Kosena and family of Portland, Oregon; and Godchild Erin Goulette of Norton, Vermont. Jim is also survived by his adopted clan, the Browns: John, Heidi, Laura and John Tavis of Scripps Ranch, California; his remaining aunt Marie McDermott of Stoneham, Massachusetts, multiple cousins from throughout the country and numerous friends throughout the world.
There were not many dull days in Jim’s life. He and Jan touched the souls of all those who had the luck to run into them. As Jim notably said, “I can sleep when I die.” That time has now come to get some well-deserved rest, pal.
Jim will be interred at Miramar National Cemetery on March 17, at 11:30 a.m. and a celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Seabee Memorial Scholarship Association, PO Box 667, Gulfport, MS. 39502 or to the Fitzgerald Fund Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike St. North Andover, Ma. 01845.