John "Kent" Corbin Obituary





John "Kent" Corbin

Kent Corbin rode peacefully onward to his next life from his home on February 11. He was seventy-four years old.

Kent was born on Feb 9, 1943 in Leavenworth, Kansas - in the hospital, not the prison! His early years were spent in the back of a liquor store. His father owned the store in Beverly, MO at the state line of Kansas and Missouri. Kansas was dry and Missouri was wet. It was a good business.

The family moved to Phoenix in 1951 for a better environment for Kent's asthma. Kent was always aware of the physical limitations his lungs and other conditions created for him. But he lived life in double-time, pulling everyone around him into his whirlwind. His non-traditional brilliance and quirky questions caused everyone who met him to think about the world and themselves a little differently.

Because of the asthma, Kent couldn't run and ride bikes like other kids. He discovered horses when he was five, and except for brief interludes with a '56 Chevy and a 2500 diesel RAM truck, a horse has been his transportation ever since.

And if the horse was his transportation, the cell phone became his chosen communication. He was an "early adopter" of the kind with the battery that filled his car trunk and required permanent installation of the handset. He loved it. No one could understand him through the static, but he just loved being connected, if only in his mind. His current pile of cell phones has posed something of a challenge to his family.

Kent didn't do athletics in high school, of course. He liked to act in school plays because he said it was the easiest way to get kissed by a girl.

Despite his physical limitations, he decided in 1979 that he would try running. "Mailbox to mailbox" was the way he trained for the three 10K races he completed. That mantra was his guide for handling all the complex problems in his life.

Kent attended Madison Schools, Camelback High, and Phoenix College. He graduated from ASU with a BS in education. He put himself through college buying and selling truckloads of damaged freight, from Nehru jackets to cottage cheese.

Before starting his work career, Kent served a two-year church mission in Australia. There he learned to speak Australian and to understand and absorb the language and meaning of the Scriptures. Two generations of grateful students have benefitted from his teaching, learning to decipher the seventeenth-century language and to make the meaning their own.

Following his graduation, Kent became an eighth grade teacher at Grandview School. He was principal of Longview School for five years following his teaching career. Both schools are in the Osborn District in Central Phoenix. Kent has been chairman of the board of Junior Achievement of Central Arizona and of the Arizona Chapter of the National Safety Association. He was past president of the Phoenix Mid-town Rotary Club. He was also Past President of the Maricopa Mounted Posse, and continued on their board until his death. Those guys are his family and we love them all.

At the time of his death, Kent was immediate past chairman of the board of the Museum of Northern Arizona. He was a member of the board of the Herberger Theater, the Arizona Cattlegrowers Association, and his beloved Posse. He was also a member of the Verde Vaqueros.

Kent is an accomplished painter of watercolors, oils, and acrylics. His first gallery showing was in Scottsdale in the spring of 2002. He is an enthusiastic photographer who doesn't know how to Photoshop.

Kent and his wife, Kay, are joint owners of Corbin Financial, Inc., specializing in retirement and investment planning and insurance for individuals.

Kent's wife Kay is the former Katharine Lawrence Auchincloss. He has three children: James Kent Corbin (Stacey); Jennifer Miller (Marshall) and Amy Merrill (Tony), and three step-children: David Victor (Emilie), Laurie Victor, and Andrew Victor (Sarah). Kent and Kay have thirteen grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Arrangements for the celebration of his life are pending. To be on the list for information, please email Laurie Victor with your name and e mail address at If you have an entertaining "Kent" story, we'd love for you to share it with us. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Endowment Foundation of the Museum of Northern Arizona, reflecting Kent's appreciation of the Native Peoples and their cultures.


Published in The Arizona Republic from Feb. 16 to Feb. 22, 2017

NOTE:  By order of the U.S. Forest Service there must be absolutely no off road vehicle activity of any kind off the ranch property, particularly to the south in the Mill Creek area.