The Reverend Jesse M. Corum III ’45

The Reverend Jesse M. Corum III ’45 died April 17, 2012, in Vero Beach, Fla. He was born on October 7, 1923, in West Norristown, Pa., and prepared for college at Haverford School. He was a cheerleader and track star with a 4:39 mile. He joined the service after a year at Bowdoin, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He served to first lieutenant in the Army during World War II, where he was responsible for a tank platoon stationed at Fort Smith, Fort Knox, and Okinawa. He graduated in 1948 but remained a member of the class of 1945. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1952 and followed his father’s footsteps by becoming a Presbyterian minister. He began with two small churches in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and then built a third congregation and church. He told stories about wild winter rides through the snow as he raced to participate in all three services. After a pastorate in Weedsport, N.Y., from 1956 to 1958, he studied for two years at the New College in Edinburgh and Ecumenical Institute in Geneva. He served the Presbyterian Church of the United States, visiting churches in upstate New York before serving as a pastor in New City, N.Y., and Holland Patent, N.Y. He also pastored several churches in Te Awamutu, New Zealand, for a year. Between parishes, he had a varied career that included English teacher, Volkswagen salesman, high school driver’s education teacher, golf caddy, and ski patrolman. As a missionary, he taught English for two years at Moeng College near Palapye, Botswana. Following several years back in Vermont, he returned to Africa in 1980 to teach at Chipembi Girls Secondary School in Chisamba, Zambia. He managed Wellspring Renewal Center in Philo, Cal., for two years. After retiring at age 62, he and his wife became “Peace Pilgrims,” making two separate yearlong trips across the United States in a camper covered with 400 political bumper stickers. They spoke at churches, schools, on the street, and on radio and TV about the need for world peace. He stayed active as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and played tennis until age 87. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Carol “Joy” MacKubbin Corum; a daughter, Laurie Hawley; two sons, Jesse and Vance Corum; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.