Valley County, IDGenWeb Project
John Weston Corbeil, artist, age 90, passed away in the arms of his loving family July 24, 2011, in McCall.
Brave, noble, and strong-willed to his last breath, John gave his family a treasured life and healing death. He fell ill while spending another summer at their cabin on Payette Lake, the place he loved most and had built with his beloved wife “Patsy.”
John was born in Berkeley, Calif., on Feb. 20, 1921 to Edith Vanderlip Weston and Oliver Silvio Corbeil.
He grew up in San Diego and Los Angeles and went to Los Angeles High School. Enrolling at UCLA through NROTC, he majored in engineering and lettered in crew, which he loved.
He had almost completed his studies when he was called to the submarine service of the U.S. Navy. During World War II, he was a lieutenant on the USS Tunney and a proud member of the Wolf Pack and Mighty Mine Dodgers in the Sea of Japan.
Near the end of his service, John realized his interest was art and after the war, he used the G.I. Bill to complete his undergraduate degree in art at UCLA.
Even more valuable than his education, while at UCLA he gained the partner of a lifetime when a beautiful former WAVE, Patricia Louise Thompson, caught his eye on the steps of the art building.
A dramatic courtship presaged their 62 years together - raising seven children and balancing his artistic temperament with her steadfast faith.
After marrying Patricia, John earned a Master of Arts at UCLA. He began his teaching career at Mt. Vernon Junior High in Los Angeles. He then taught at Sutter Junior High, and Canoga Park High, before moving onto Los Angeles Pierce College, where he spent the majority of his 42 year teaching career as a professor of art.
His innovative approach led his students on adventures in and out of the classroom, including doing performance art before it had a name, and taking groups of students on camping trips across Europe.
Throughout his career his passion and creativity inspired thousands of students, some of whom kept in touch with him to the present.
Not only did he teach drawing and painting, he was also a prolific artist who showed his work in galleries and his home studio high in the mountains of Topanga Canyon, Calif. His work expressed a passionate love of nature, the subject of most of his drawings and paintings.
He carried on the tradition of his grandmother, Anne Vanderlip Weston, a Tiffany Girl, one of the first female designers of stained glass for Louis C. Tiffany in New York City.
Early in his career he discovered McCall and he and Pat spent the next 59 summers transforming a one-room hunting shack into a welcoming haven which supports their large family in their joyous summer reunions.
Once retired, John and Pat spent any time not in McCall at their winter residence in Oceanside, Calif., or, as their license plate read, as “nomadic domestics,” sharing the lives of their children and grandchildren.
John exemplified love, courage, creativity, honor, humor, loyalty, tenacity and a willingness to enlist anyone’s attendance at the cement mixer, qualities which we hope to carry on in his loving family which includes his wife, Patricia, sisters, Diane Fraley of McCall and Geraldine “Gerry” Wright of Boise, Robin Gilman of Grand Junction, Colo., Ryn Corbeil and wife, Erica Rose of Lakeside, Calif., Shawn and wife, Connie Corbeil of Moorpark, Calif., Piper and husband, Marcus Field of Boise, Lark Corbeil and husband, David Crandall of Boulder, Colo., Per and wife, Barbara Corbeil of Oceanside, Calif., Teal and husband, Charles LeVine of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and 18 grandchildren.
The family would like to extend their deepest appreciation to the wonderful staff of St. Luke’s McCall hospital who could not have been more supportive of our father and our entire family.
The family will be updating a web site www.johncorbeil.com. Condolences can be left on Facebook at John W. Corbeil.
A funeral mass will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in McCall at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 28, 2011.
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