Walt Corbin | Passages

Walt Corbin passed on April 11, 2021, on Orcas Island, Washington. He was born July 22, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York, and in Walt’s own words, “In between Brooklyn and Orcas, I had a wonderful life. Have a plan for every day, make each day a challenge. IF YOU DON’T DREAM, NOTHING HAPPENS. Live your days as a full adventure.”

There is no escaping when you talked to Walt Corbin that you would soon be caught up in his enthusiasm and energy! He was a man who cared deeply about the land and our planet Earth. His vision for both the planet as well as Orcas Island and the people of that community is exemplified by how he lived his life. He was an advocate for the people and having their voices heard and so he became involved. He helped on many projects such as the Eastsound Planning Committee, The Village Green, Apprentice Program, the new Recycling Building, Preservation of Turtleback Mountain and Vendovi Island and many others. He was one of the freeholders that rewrote the Governing Charter for the San Juan Islands. He and his wife Gayle have Preserved Land through the Preservation Land Trust and the Okanogan Land Trust, WA.

His dream did come true. As a young man, he wanted to come west to the Mountains. He was the happiest fly fishing on a river in the Mountains. Walt arrived on Orcas in 1981 with his bees and set up his beekeeping in the meadow in Olga. He became a forester and from there it was a sawmill, tractor, dump truck and eventually an excavator and he was in heaven. He lived a happy and full life and the best part of the house was the mudroom and a wood stove.

However, he was a thinker. He was a writer. Many Sounder newspaper readers will recall his many letters to the editor, but Walt wrote poems and short stories and essays. He was a sailor most of his life and lived on his sailboat with his wife, Gayle, for some years. They sailed and boated many places far and wide. Walt was an adventurer, a curious and passionate person about everything. He was a life force that we will all remember. He read everything he could get his hands on and he loved to know about things and people. He considered life itself an adventure.

Those who wish to continue Walt’s legacy are invited to make donations to the Walter and Gayle Corbin Environmental Fund at the Orcas Island Community Foundation, online at https://oicf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit id=1008, or by mail at OICF, PO Box 1496, Eastsound, WA 98245.