Dr. Richard Corby of Alexander, formerly of Monticello, passed away April 15 in Benton. Raised in Illinois, he attended Milligan (Tenn.) College for his undergraduate degree in music, after which he served as band director at the Illinois School of Math and Science for several years.
The following decade saw his return to graduate school and a stint in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, which subsequently drew him to pursue a doctorate in African Studies from Indiana University. He returned to Africa to teach history at Cuttington University in Liberia for the next five years.
By the time he became a teacher at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, his passion for all things African allowed him to go beyond the classroom through outreach for teachers. He applied for and received 16 grants from the National Endowment for Humanities and Fulbright-Hayes Group Projects Abroad, which included both travel and study abroad, as well as seminars on the UAM campus for educators to learn more about Africa and how to teach about Africa.
In total, he personally directed 14 trips of study abroad to Egypt, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa and Central Europe. During his recent hospitalization, he received many cards and letters from teachers who had traveled with him abroad, attesting to his impact on their lives both professionally and personally.
He was a history professor at UAM for 25 years, retiring in 2013 and relocating in Alexander. Even in retirement, however, he continued to share his passion for Africa and its diversity of cultures and people through teaching classes in African Studies at Life Quest.
Preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Patricia McAnally, he is survived by a sister, Jean (Ed) Hart of Newport Beach, Calif.; a son, Thomas Lincoln of Alexander; and two granddaughters, Yasmine and Wleday.
Memorials may be made to the Arkansas Humanities Council, 1400 West Markham Street, Suite 300, Little Rock 72201. A celebration of Life will be held from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, 2019 in the Adams Room in Harris Hall at UAM.