Pioneer Alaskan Tommy Reed Corr III died Saturday, Sept. 22, 2001, at Providence Intermediate Care in Anchorage after a long battle with cancer. He was 72.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the First Baptist Church in Soldotna. Pastor Jonathan Pedersen will officiate. A viewing will be from 1 p.m. until service time Wednesday at the church. Burial will be in Spruce Grove Memorial Park in Kasilof.
Mr. Corr was born March 10, 1929, in Amarillo, Texas. An Eagle Scout and four-year letterman, Mr. Corr graduated from Central State High School in Edmond, Okla., in 1947. He served in the National Guard and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University, where he met his wife, Tommye Jo.
Mr. Corr hitchhiked to Alaska in 1955 as an aspiring young writer in search of adventure and inspiration. Falling in love with the state, he moved here permanently with his family the following summer to attend graduate studies at the University of Alaska and continue his writing, focusing on short stories for popular magazines of the era such as Western Horseman, Car Life and Alaska Sportsman. The "Alaska Book" contains one of his articles describing life on the Aleutian Islands, where he had catalogued island plant life during a summer in the late 1950s.
Before Kalifornsky Beach Road was built, Mr. Corr homesteaded on the Kenai River west of Soldotna in 1958. He helped construct the last one-room log schoolhouse in the territory of Alaska prior to statehood and was a founding member of the Soldotna First Baptist Church. He dedicated his life to his family and various forms of public service, to include a two-year borough assembly term, Babe Ruth Baseball League president and past president of the local soil conservation district.
He was one of the first area farmers to grow more than 100 acres of grain in one season. In recent years, Mr. Corr grew apples on his farm and was proud that he had a big crop on his trees this year.
"He will be remembered for his generosity, easygoing nature and colorful personality," said his family.
Mr. Corr is survived by his wife of 52 years, Tommye Jo; sons Tom, Larry, John and Jimmy; 12 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and his 100-year-old stepmother.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
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