One of the top things Roberta "Birdy" Pulliam likes most about Corbett is the dirt. No kidding! Birdy says the soil here is unbelievable for growing her onions, peppers, tomatoes and cilantro for all her homemade salsa. Moving here just six years ago, Jeff and Birdy live in a home that dates back to at least 1928- maybe even further. The date on the electrical box says 1928 and no one seems to have any records from before that. Jeff's grandparents bought and lived in the home, then Jeff's parent's raised him in the home on the Columbia River. Birdy met Jeff when she was divorced and had four children, living in Gresham. Once married, they lived in her home in town for 5 years then decided to buy the Corbett home and "keep it in the family." The home needed some major TLC, but Birdy and Jeff decided they were up for the challenge. Enrolling her youngest sons in the Corbett schools, Birdy became involved volunteering with their school sports and activities. She herself had gone back to school after the divorce and got both her bachelor's and master's degree in education, becoming an elementary teacher. Jeff and Birdy are now "empty nesters" and have three grandchildren. They have poured themselves into their home and yard, making both look like they belong in a magazine! Birdy loves her teaching career, time spent with Jeff and her adult kids and grand kids, working out in her vegetable and flower gardens, and also traveling. Birdy has gone with her sisters to more than 10 different countries and thinks Australia is the most interesting so far. She enjoys the renewed friendships with her two sisters and appreciates the deep friendships they share. With all her travels, does she think about relocating? "No. Whose dirt can compare?!"
It was when Kathleen Freund was enrolled at Jefferson High School in Portland that she met her husband of nearly 50 years. Malcolm and Kathie went to a drive-in movie and then to Rocky Butte on a blind date with another couple. Kathie says they talked nonstop, and she agreed to a second date on New Year's Eve. When Malcolm brought her home at 4 am, her dad slammed the door in his face and then called the next day to have him come over for a "visit." Things went a lot better after that, and Malcolm proposed on Feb. 22, 1963. They married just 6 months later in Portland. Malcolm is four years older than Kathie, and after marrying, they headed to Idaho so he could finish his degree in engineering at the Univ. Idaho. In 1966 Kathie and Malcolm were expecting their first child, and decided to move back to Portland. Looking all over for property, they found a nice 5 acre piece in Corbett and put their newly purchased mobile home on the land. Raymond Smith was the first person they met in Corbett, as he offered to help them take down some trees. Raising their two sons Myron and Harold in Corbett, Kathie was active over the years with the Parent Advisory Committee and all the boy's sports activities, including ice hockey outside of school. Kathie was the bingo caller for 13 years for the Portland Amateur Hockey Assoc. Now the grandmother of two, her sons live in Las Vegas and Iowa. Malcolm retired from a career at BPA, and they both continue to be active in the community, still living in their same home. Kathie attends the monthly Women's Teas at the grange, is on the Citizen's Patrol, and is involved with NERT. Neighbors helping neighbors is what Kathie appreciates most about Corbett. Over the years she has had many experiences where this has proven true. She, Malcolm and their new baby once moved in with neighbors because all power was out, and they has no wood stove to stay warm. TOGETHER they stayed safe, warm, dry and happy!
There is a new name in town, and most folks already love it. Coach Lovitt that is. Lance Lovitt moved to Corbett from LaGrande, Oregon just two short weeks ago, bringing wife Wendy and their four children. Lincoln is 7 years old, Amber is 6, Callie 3 and baby Teah is just 4 months old. Lance grew up on a farm and was the youngest of four children. His folks bought a local farm supply/grocery store when he was in 4th grade, so he helped out there as well as at home with the 100 head of hog and 70 beef cattle. After 13 years of store ownership, Lance's dad changed paths to become a teacher and coach. Lance himself was a successful player, going on to play football his first year of college in CA. Getting married to Wendy in 1993, he had taken a break from school to help his dad coach. In 1995, he went back to school and got his degree in teaching, and Wendy got her degree in nursing. It was always a dream for Lance to be in Corbett. He and Wendy wanted their kids to have a small town childhood experience that offered excellent education and a friendly community. He feels it is a blessing to be the new football coach, and he has already brought on 5 new coaches to assist with the 28 boys that are currently turning out for the season. Coach Lovitt is all about "The Golden Rule" and expects his players to get on board with that. He has already hit the ground running and has big plans for a successful program that will only grow and get stronger/ better each year, attracting boys from even Reynolds and Gresham to come play for Corbett! What does the coach do when he is not with his family or thinking about football? Lance loves to play golf, camp, fish, go boating, and play music. Country music is what he is most fond of, and he plays the acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle and banjo. He also plans to start getting his kids interested in playing the piano. He was once part of a successful local band, and now may just start another within his own family!
Phil DuFresne has always been a man of faith. Back in the 70's, "Big Bear" was a long haul truck driver with a wife and two kids. One day he was tying down his load and got snapped in the eye with his rubber rope. He was blinded in his right eye as a result. Time for a career change. In 1979, Bear and wife Judy purchased the market in Springdale from Ellis "Fox" Wheeler and his wife, June. They believed that Corbett would be a wonderful place to raise their family and they had faith the purchase of the store would provide a new opportunity for them. Being a youth pastor earlier in his life at New Hope Community Church, he was given the nickname "Big Bear" and it stuck. He brought the name with him to Corbett. Raising his son Vince and daughter Michelle in Corbett was wonderful, and Bear has appreciated seeing three generations of families pass before him before retiring from the store in 2009. He has three grand kids and continues his acts of service in the community. Over the years he has been a volunteer firefighter, supported the youth with their sports programs, sponsored the pumpkin patch for all the kindergartners and has been a ring leader for putting together the July 4th activities. Currently Bear is leading a bible study each Wednesday evening at Bridal Veil Church on Lucas Road. They are studying the book of 1 John, and Bear says he is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus with others. He feels that no one deserves to die alone, and he has met with numerous folks in their last days to be at their side and provide support and guidance. In his free time, Bear loves to do both wood burning and carving as well as build model trucks and cars. Leave Corbett anytime soon? "Never."
Dr. Sonja Straub is from Switzerland, and yet she met her current husband Namon Nixon in Alaska! Namon is actually from Detroit, but was in Alaska working when the two first saw one another. Just how did the married couple end up in Corbett, Oregon?! Fate. Each had been thinking about where to "settle" and by different methods, both came up with Corbett! Both have an educational background in psychology, and Sonja had her office at home in NW Portland nearly four years ago before moving to Corbett. Still working from home in Corbett, she also has an office in Portland that she goes to a few days a week. Namon is now home full time on their property with all 90 (yes, NINETY!) animals that they share. Sonja has a 25 year old daughter in CA., and Namon has a 28 year old son in Michigan, but they are also the proud parents of donkeys, sheep, goats, turkeys, dogs, cats, chickens, and a peacock named Harry! Both Sonja and Namon are passionate about both nature and animals. They are enjoying the home and property so much that they are gracious to invite others to share in the peaceful and beautiful surroundings. Sonja's nephew from Switzerland just came for four weeks to stay with them, and they also have 56 sponsored children they have relationships with through the "I Have a Dream, Oregon" program that builds relationships with kids at risk from 3rd grade until their high school graduation. They then support their journey to college. Namon says the kids love to visit and enjoy the very "simple and quiet" flow of things on their farm. Potlucks are one way the two have met their neighbors, and they both love the friendly style of the Corbett folks. Sounds like they won't be moving away any time soon!
Currently Kevin Bates and his family are living in one of the oldest homes in Corbett. His great grandparents homesteaded here from Kansas with the Bell family, who are relatives and live next door! They each built a home and actually chose where they would build by the toss of a coin! Kevin has many wonderful memories of living in Corbett his entire childhood. He picked berries for Elmer Larsen on Stevens Road from age 8-13 and said Elmer would pick up all the kids each morning and was kind yet stern. One time a rambunctious boy got a bucket full of squished berries put right on the top of his head by Elmer! Kevin played basketball and ran track and cross country as a youth, going on to Mt. Hood Community College to continue his running. After running competitively for 2 years at Mt. Hood, Kevin transferred to Portland State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Fine Art. This was a change from his original intent of an engineering degree. After failing a flight physical due to a hearing loss, he followed a different passion. While attending school, Kevin was a "stripper" for a printing company, stripping negatives for the printing press! Another job was working at "The Cheerful Tortoise." It was here that Kevin met Ginger, his wife since 1991. Together they have two sons, Austin 19 and Dallas 16. Kevin has helped coach both his son's basketball and baseball teams and loves being a part of the community and raising his family in the Bate's family home. On the front of the home is a post with his father's hand print as a 4 month old and in the barn are markings from family member's from the 1930's! When not busy with family, work and church activities, Kevin loves to perform as a magician. Since age 8 , Kevin has been practicing and performing for parties and events. Favorite act? "Coins Across."
Except for his years away for college, Jared Hargens has spent his entire life growing up on O'Regan Road in Corbett. For the first five years, Jared lived in a home that is now a rental property for his family. Currently, he is living in the home his parents raised him and his sister Kim in. He is working on making this his permanent home since his folks have built another place to live just up the road! Attending Corbett schools K-12, Jared was involved with soccer, football and basketball. He also was the senior class president and the salutatorian of his graduating class. Jared says his dad was a huge influence on his life, as he shadowed him just about everywhere he went. His dad taught him how to fish, hunt, build, repair and overall, work hard! Jared attended Oregon State Univ. for four years, then went on to get his master's degree in business engineering. He is currently a project manager for his dad's excavation company. He says his "office" is actually the front seat of his truck, as he spends a great deal of time there! He oversees job sites and makes sure all is running smoothly. With a career that requires a great deal of mental energy, he says coming home to Corbett is a gift. He has loved growing up around extended family and appreciates that most are still around. He also appreciates the incredible view he has from his home, which extends from Portland to Mt. Hood. Although living on acreage is an incredible amount of work, he says he is used to it and enjoys it. As for someone to share this joy with, a twinkle comes into his eye as he talks about his current girlfriend Chelsey who also grew up in Corbett and understands the "magic" of living in the community.
Philip is the fifth of seven boys raised in Corbett by Dale and Sally Kurkinen. Now married to Megan and the father of AnnaBelle, Philip is living in a wonderful "new" home in Corbett. Mrs. Bonnie Lilly was Philip's first teacher at Corbett Grade School, and years later, Megan would student teach just across the hall from Mrs. Lilly! Being a trumpet player, homecoming king and track star who went to State twice in high school, Philip longed to get back to his "roots" after recently completing his master's degree. Purchasing their home/acreage in February was a dream come true. Megan was not raised in the country and really appreciates the sound of wildlife rather than traffic. Originally they had intended to make several changes to the home and yet once moved in, realized they loved it just the way it was! They feel "safe, quiet and settled" in the home and community. Currently they are volunteering on Saturdays at the Grange Hall with the "Helping Hands" food program. They both look forward to raising their daughter in Corbett, and are currently hosting a foreign exchange student from Switzerland for four weeks in their home. Also, Megan's folks are currently living with them as well! Both Philip and Megan feel they have a lot of blessings to share and love having a home available to share. Currently both are working in the field of education and enjoy being around children. Actually, Megan was just a mere 5 years old when she met Philip at church with his family. The rest, shall we say, is history!
It has been fifteen years since Kim Deibert made the move to Corbett. He came with his young family back in 1996 to enjoy the lifestyle he came to know from working on his dad's Corbett farm since 1993. For eleven years now Kim has been with the love of his life, Cheryl Lawwill and her two kids, making it a household with four kids, all just one year apart! Kim's boys will be a junior and senior at Corbett High this fall, while Cheryl's twins will both be seniors. Kim really loves the privacy of the large acreage he and Cheryl are on, but now wishes it was a smaller parcel since the kids no longer have as much time to help with all the upkeep! Currently Kim continues with home remodel and renovation work for his father as well as many others in the Corbett community. He also works as a substitute bus driver for the Corbett schools, driving kids to and from school as well as sporting events. He says he really enjoys the time with the kids and appreciates that he is always given a high school student to sit in the front and help guide him on the many different pick up and drop off spots since Corbett has no set bus stops for groups of kids, like in the suburbs. Kim says he would like to drive full time, but has to wait for someone to retire first! Kim has been very involved with the community over the years by volunteering extensively at the schools, coaching baseball, driving the buses, and leaving his "print" on many homes and buildings in the area with his renovation work. The home he currently lives in was half built when he bought it and he was able to finish it with all his own personal touches. The "touches" include many hunting trophies mounted on the walls. He says the best one of all is the bull elk he shot on his dad's Corbett property!