When Tom Klinski was born in 1930, he came home to Corbett and has only left once- for two years he served in the Korean War. Having two sisters, it was Tom and his father who worked long hours milking their 30 dairy cows on the family farm. The family also grew potatoes literally ALL over Corbett. The entire area of NE 365th Ave. was farm land and they rented the acreage for their potato farming as well as other areas in Corbett. During WWII there were few young men in the area, so Tom says the large home across the Stark Street Bridge was a camp for nearly 500 Hispanic boys and men. They would be picked up each morning by several Corbett farmers to help with farm chores, and returned to their camp in the evenings. Tom's family also grew daffodils, Dutch Iris and tulips, selling and shipping the bulbs all over the country! In 1948, Tom graduated from Corbett High. He was the senior class president, and had played both basketball and baseball all through school. At the time, those were the only sports available for the boys! In 1955, Tom met a beautiful young woman at church named Delta, and they married soon after. She was the secretary at Corbett Grade School for 27 years! Together, the Klinski's had three children, and just two years ago, Tom lost his only son to a heart attack at age 50. Delta had passed earlier in 2006 from cancer. Currently, his two daughters live in the general area and have given him two grandchildren. Tom is still in the "cow business" but has switched from dairy to beef production. There was "too much milk" back in 1986 and so he "bid out" to the government and made a change in cows. He also started driving a school bus for Corbett, driving from 1986-2002. When he was in the war, he had won an award for driving over 23,000 miles with any accidents! Now Tom is involved as a volunteer with "Meals on Wheels," delivering meals in the Corbett area, as well as volunteering at the Corbett Grange. Tom said he was always tempted to move to Canby because of Corbett's wind, but says he is glad he never did!
Living in Corbett since age 3, Laura Kimes has always considered Corbett her home. Laura was in the first kindergarten class to start at the "new" grade school in 1996. Both Laura and her sister were raised solely by their father, who kept them both very involved with a variety of activities. Playing soccer since age 8, being involved in Girl Scouts, CCT plays, and playing the alto saxophone in the band kept Laura busy! In high school, everything came to a confusing halt. Laura freely speaks of the dark depression she faced. One day feeling low, Laura skipped class and drove her dad's brand new car up to Larch Mountain to "get away". Unexpectedly, it started snowing and Laura was alone. As she was driving back down the mountain, she hydroplaned and crashed off the road. Miraculously, she walked away without a scratch. NOT true of the car! The accident was a wake up call. Laura says that several teachers at Corbett had a huge impact on her recovery, as she knew they truly cared about her. Today Laura has made huge strides in her relationships with others as well as made positive choices for her future. Currently she is enrolled as a student at the Univ. of Oregon and has been accepted into the architecture program, one of the top 15 in the country! She also has returned to her love of drawing, painting, doing needlework and also hopes to soon pick up her saxophone again. With so much to look forward to, Laura speaks joyfully of the road that lies ahead!
Hannah Grey is a 14 year old freshman at Corbett High this year. Living in Corbett since her folks brought her home from the hospital, she is the youngest of three kids. Older brother Alex just graduated from Willamette University and is currently spending a year in Japan before attending grad school. Brother Alex is a freshman this year at OSU. Until she is a bit older and gets a job with a paycheck, she content to babysit for her spending money. Hannah is not one to sit still for too long. She currently is playing on the girl's high school soccer team and says the team is a close knit group that enjoys their time together. Last year was her first year of soccer and she won the "Most Improved" award on the team! Since age 7, Hannah has also been riding horses, starting with Laurie James and now riding with Sherry Grey, her aunt. Her favorite horse to ride is one named "Mariposa." She has a white lab dog named Isabelle and her cat is named Silly. She says the cat got "dropped off" on the road by someone, so her family provided a loving new home! One day Hannah is hoping to go to school and become a veterinarian. Also musical, she has taken piano lessons for 3 years and is currently playing the clarinet in the band at school. She has also had roles in 3 CCT plays in Corbett. Growing up in Corbett has provided opportunity to have plenty of space to roam and play as well as develop close childhood friends like Vanessa Van Horn, who has been her best friend as long as she can remember! When a free moment comes, Hannah can be found on the computer. Hannah loves to write and create. She often goes to websites where she can interact with others in creating characters and writing stories. With such a wonderful childhood in Corbett, she may never run out of adventures to write about!
Beer, wine, lemonade, soda pop, water, or juice, Robert tracks the beverages all over the Portland area. Robert Giard works for Columbia Distributing on Swan Island and deals with literally hundreds of thousands of beverages on a weekly basis. After eight years in the U.S. Marine Corp., Robert moved from Kentucky back to the Portland area to be near family. He is one of five children, and most all of his family are in the area. Meeting his wife Kemmie while drinking a beverage in Troutdale, the two hit it off and were married shortly thereafter. Knowing they both wanted to raise a family in a rural setting with great schools, they chose Corbett, and made the move in August, 2007. Kemmie has her master's degree in teaching and hopes to one day teach in Corbett. Currently, her hands are full with sons Anthony, nearly 4 and twins Callen and Noah who are 10 months old. Robert is a hands on guy that has really enjoys making changes to both their home and property. He feels they are "far enough and yet also close enough" to the big city of Portland and all its amenities. His said his neighbors have been kind and helpful since day one and he really likes that they all look out for one another. This year Anthony started preschool at Corbett, its first year of the program. Robert says Anthony loves being there! Robert looks forward to all his boys being in school and being very involved. He and Kemmie both want to be very supportive as the boys grow up in the wonderful community that they both talked about moving to long before the kids arrived on the scene!
Henry Hammel has been in Corbett with his family since his folks brought him home from the hospital. Henry is the youngest of two boys and has attended Corbett schools since since kindergarten. Now a senior, he is looking to graduate in the spring and then attend college. Where might he go? "No idea" he says with a laugh as he talks about his brother Matt being enrolled at Vassar in New York and yet now in a foreign country, studying abroad for a semester. Many teachers and coaches have had a big impact on Henry over the years and he appreciates the relationships he has been able to build. He is especially thankful for Mr. Bob Dunton who has been both a mentor and friend. Henry has always been busy. With several years of Cub and Boy Scouts, several years in Corbett Children's Theater, playing the bassoon in the band from grade 5-11, and playing soccer since kindergarten, Henry also had time to be in a band called "Sanitarium." Playing with several of his friends, Henry was the lead singer for all three years they were together. Having fun is a priority for Henry and he appreciates the chance to have grown up in Corbett with lots of space to roam and have plenty of animals, including horses. What is on his mind at the moment? Going to the state playoff in soccer this year- "Come watch us play and WIN!" he says with a grin.
In her 81 years of life, Ethel Smith has given birth to four children, and yet has been a mother figure for a total of 12 children! Ethel's first husband passed when her youngest of four was just five years old. Ethel married George Rawley who was widowed and had two children of his own. George and Ethel moved to Corbett in 1966 and bought 80 acres of land. It was their original intent to subdivide and make eight 10 acre parcels to sell. They grew so fond of the beautiful land that they decided to keep it all! Originally they clear cut the thousands of fir trees on their land, but Ethel says that was a mistake. Now they just "thin" the trees to make for bigger and healthier trees. Over the years Ethel and George were heavily involved in the Corbett Grange, with George being the Grange Master. By driving around and visiting folks, they recruited 125 new members one year! Together with their kids, they raised calves, horses, chickens, goats, peacocks and chows. In 1968 George built the family's museum, right on the property. Over forty years later, folks are STILL talking about the enormous structure that still has just about anything and everything you can think of on display in it! George passed away and Ethel married her current husband, Charlie Smith who had three children. Before Charlie's wife died, she had been friends with Ethel for over 20 years. Currently Ethel attends church at Bridal Veil Community Church on Lucas Road. For over 10 years she had a bible study and potluck in her home and neighbors from all over gathered on Tuesdays. Today Ethel still volunteers at the Grange and can be seen collecting money at the doorway for the "Helping Hands" program on Mondays. Ethel smiles broadly when she states that her will says the family acreage will be divided among her children and can never be sold once she passes.