Ronald Ray Corbell

Nov 9, 1948 – Nov 30, 2017

Ronald Ray Corbell obituary image 1



Ronald R. Corbell, age 69, (of Renton, WA) passed away on November 30, 2017, with grace, peace and surrounded by love.

Ron was born on November 9, 1948, and was raised in Seattle's South End.  The oldest of seven siblings, he graduated from Franklin High School, and earned education degrees from Western Washington University (BA) and University of Oregon (Masters).  Ron began his 32-year education career in 1972 as a Kindergarten teacher known for wearing cowboy hats when reading to his students and as “the man in the purple shirt.”  Spending most of his career in the Lincoln County School District on the Oregon Coast (in and around the community of Newport), Ron served as an elementary teacher, elementary and middle school principal and proudly served as president of the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators during the 1997-98 school year.  He ended his long education career as Assistant Superintendent of the Corvallis School District (1998-2004).  Ron believed, “Quality leadership is never an accident ... it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.”  Ron and wife Helen (deceased) raised their three children in Newport.  Highlights of these years included summer vacations with the family where they camped around the entire lower 48 United States.  Being with his children and having life experiences together brought Ron much joy.

After retirement in 2004, Ron moved back to Seattle where he married his beloved wife Martha.  He continued his passion to advocate for children, serving as a Board Member for Family Law CASA of King County and as a Make-A-Wish Trustee.  Ron loved to travel and enjoyed an incredible trip to Europe this past summer with Martha and their grandsons.  He wore many titles during his life – son, brother, husband, father, teacher, principal, superintendent, trustee, friend – and his favorite title of all – Papa Ron. 

Ron is survived by his wife Martha, daughter Sarah (Keith), sons Cameron and Nathaniel (Amanda), and his brothers Randy (Debbie), Bob (Peggy), Brian and Jeff (Karen), sisters Jackie and Linda (in-law), step-mother Dolly and mother-in-law Billie.  His pride and joy were grandsons Garrett, Parker and Mason. 

 Ron lived an amazing life and touched so many with his love for kids, and leadership in the education field.  If you met Ron, he likely asked you about your life story.  Ron’s was a life well lived reflected in his favorite quote: “Life is either a great adventure or nothing” – Helen Keller.

The family wishes to thank the University of Washington Medical Center staff for the wonderful care given to Ron the last few years.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested in Ron’s name to: Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.


John and Margaret McClellan
Newport, OR
Dec 12, 2017

We are so sadden by the passing of Ron. He was principal of Sam Case where our son attended school. He had a great sense of humor. He was always willing to talk to if you had a concern. I'm very sorry for Nate and Amanda with Ron's passing.

Lynne Collson
Newport , Or
Dec 12, 2017

So sorry for your loss. Sound like you have lots of good memory to reflect back on.

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