Obituary: Corinne ‘Corky’ Cockburn 1926 – July 12, 2022

CORINNE ‘CORKY’ COCKBURN 1926 – July 12, 2022

Corinne “Corky” Cockburn, 96, died peacefully after a brief illness in Santa Fe, NM on July 12, 2022.

Corky was born to Harold and Opal Fort in Manson, Washington in 1926. She attended Washington State College where she met Curt Cockburn. After graduation in 1948 they married and moved to upstate New York where he worked for General Electric. In 1960 he was transferred to Arizona. They loved the desert and lived in Cave Creek and Carefree for the next half century.

Corky was a community organizer all of her life. She established the Cave Creek kindergarten and the Desert Foothills Scenic Drive. She was a member and president of the Black Mountain Mothers Club and the Cave Creek-Carefree Improvement Association. She helped write, edit, and publish the Vacuum Cleaner, the Black Mountain News, and the Cave Creek phone book. She put on an annual talent show, the Kindergarten Kapers, to support the kindergarten, helped organize the 4th of July parades, and directed the Cave Creek Christmas Pageant several times. She was close friends with Dorothy Smith, the first librarian at the Desert Foothills Library, and volunteered at the library until she left town. She ran the library used book store and the semiannual book sales. She donated to and worked with the Land Trust to preserve some of the desert areas she loved so much.

She loved meeting people from other cultures. She did ESL tutoring for the school and hosted foreign visitors for the Thunderbird School of Global Management in the 1960s. She and Curt traveled frequently to Mexico and she traveled by herself all over the world.

Their parties were legendary. Their Cave Creek house accommodated most of the town in the early 1960s. The Desert Dinners, which required each guest to bring a dish with an ingredient from the desert, were covered by the Arizona Republic.

She loved the outdoors and hiked all of her life: in the Cascades near Manson and in the desert. She was an expert on plants, birds, and other wildlife.

After being widowed in 2007 she lived with each of her children in turn before moving into assisted living in New Mexico.

She is survived by her children Andy (Anne), Morgantown WV, Russ (Linda), Alpedrinha Portugal, Robin Gurule, Los Alamos NM; grandchildren Bronwyn and James Cockburn, Morgantown WV, and Hazel Gurule, San Francisco CA; and sister Alice Killian, Manson WA.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Curt; and three sisters Helen Louise England, Nila Koenig, and Barbara Hisel.

A memorial Facebook page is at

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