URBANA – Joseph W. Corbett passed away at 9:23 a.m. Saturday (Aug. 16, 2014) at his home in Champaign.
Joe was born on Nov. 1, 1933, in Danville, the only child of Charles and Mary Cramer Corbett.
He had lived in Urbana and received his doctorate in mathematics at the University of Illinois. As a student he was a member of the ROTC and after graduation he served in the U.S. Army in West Germany. Because he was fluent in German, he was recruited to spy on the East German and Soviet military, monitoring troop movements.
He later became a professor of mathematics at Depauw University in Indiana. He played an important role in the establishment of the astronomy program at the university. In retirement he moved back to Urbana.
Joe was an avid reader, possessing thousands of books, and was a regular visitor to the Urbana Free Library.
He was a man of many talents and interests. He enjoyed operating a ham radio, canoeing, hiking and camping. He loved classical music and played the pipe organ. Though he never married, he loved children and was a strong supporter of the Right to Life movement.
He became an active member of the Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church in Champaign, spending his final years in one of the parish's retirement condominiums. He also generously supported the work of the Orthodox Christian Alumni in Action at the University of Illinois, which maintains NIKA House, a student living center on the campus. Joe will be truly missed by the many friends he made at Three Hierarchs.
Visitation will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the church. The service will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Roselawn Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church.
Morgan Memorial Home, Savoy, is handling arrangements.