Greta Corning, a resident of Washington since 1996, died Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 at the Willapa Harbor Care Center in Raymond, WA. She was 96.
Greta Marian McCoy was born in her parents’ farmhouse in Guthrie County, Iowa on June 27, 1915, to Paul Gordon and Jessie Gertrude (Kneeland) McCoy, the second of four siblings. At the age of nine, Greta moved with her family to a farm in Sully County, South Dakota, near Onida where she attended the Ruckle School through the eighth grade. Greta graduated from Onida High School in 1933 as valedictorian of her class. Upon earning her teaching certificate from the University of South Dakota, Greta taught in the elementary grades at Blunt, SD, for four years, then moved to Gettysburg, SD, to teach fourth grade and coach high school debate and declamation for five years.
On July 7, 1945, Greta and Wesley M. Corning were married in the Methodist parsonage in Tillamook, Oregon. Following Wes’ discharge from the Army Air Corps at the end of World War II, Wes and Greta made their home in Salem, Oregon, where both of their children were born. During this time, Greta was employed at the Oregon State Library in Salem. In November of 1960, Greta and Wes moved their family to Spink County, South Dakota, where they purchased Greta’s parents’ farm near Frankfort. Greta assisted Wes with their farming operation, cared for her family, and resumed her teaching career at Glendale and Spink Hutterite colonies and at Doland Jr. High School, all while continuing to take college courses. In 1976, Greta received her Bachelor of Science in education with a French minor from Northern State College in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
After retirement, Greta and Wes enjoyed spending winters in Salem, Oregon, and summers on the farm in South Dakota. They lived in Redfield, South Dakota for six years before moving to Grayland, Washington, in 1996 with their daughter and son-in-law, where Greta resided until September 2005, when she moved to Alder House Assisted Living in South Bend, Washington. She lived there until the day after Christmas 2011, when a broken hip necessitated her move to the Willapa Harbor Care Center, Raymond, Washington.
Greta was active in her churches wherever she resided, was a member of the Redfield Area Retired Teachers’ Association, was a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, and served on election boards. She enjoyed chocolate, family gatherings, Scrabble, music, bird-watching, word games, visiting friends, and watching Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and Lawrence Welk on television. Greta was a highly regarded teacher who was a favorite among her former pupils and was selected to be honored in “Outstanding Educators of America.”
Left to celebrate Greta’s life are daughter Diane Eickhoff, Grayland, WA; son and daughter-in-law Max and Dawn Corning, Lakeview, OR; grandchildren Allisun, Brent, and Ned Corning, Lakeview, OR; brother Paul McCoy, Springfield, OR; many nieces, nephews and cousins; former pupils; and 96 years worth of friends.
Greta was preceded in death by her parents; husband Wes in 1999, sisters Gertrude Moore and Margery Parr, granddaughter Melody Carol Corning, and son-in-law Charles Eickhoff.
At Greta’s request there will be no memorial services. Burial of Greta’s cremains will be beside her beloved Wes at Belcrest Cemetery, Salem, Oregon.
Memorials to honor Greta’s life may be made to Alder House, PO Box 1400 South Bend, WA 98586 or a charity of your choice.
Condolences may be sent to Greta’s family in care of Diane Eickhoff, PO Box 444, Grayland, WA 98547 or Max Corning, 645 S. 6th St., Lakeview, OR 97630.
Arrangements are in care of Stoller’s Mortuary in Raymond.