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Obituaries » Robert P. Corcoran

Robert P. Corcoran

December 15, 1935 - May 10, 2023

U.S. Veteran

Service Date: May 15, 2023

Funeral Home Corcoran Funeral Home Inc

Cemetery Sacred Heart Cemetery

Church Saints Peter and Paul Church

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Robert P. Corcoran

May 10, 2023


Robert P. Corcoran, retired educator, passed away on May 10, 2023.

Robert was born in Plains Township, the son of the late Patrick “PJ” Corcoran and Mary Naughton Corcoran. His father was also an educator having served as a Latin teacher in the Plains-Laflin School District.

Robert was happily married to Rose Galligan of Scranton, a retired teacher from the Scranton City Schools.

After graduation from Sacred Heart High School in 1953, Bob joined the U.S. Marine Corps along with four other youngsters from Plains Memorial High School. The Korean War was over in 15 days after their enlistment. At Parris Island, one of the Plains recruits with Corcoran said, “The Koreans gave up because they heard the gang from Plains is coming over.”

“The RSM ladies from Sacred Heart had a great impact on my life,” said Corcoran, “they instilled the rigors of discipline and deportment, the well-needed attributes for the Marine Corps and life in general.” Corcoran always said the military was a great finishing school. Where else could one enjoy a travel across America, enjoy a cruise across the Pacific Ocean to Hara, Japan. Then, to top off the splendid cruise, Corcoran was dispatched to island of Oahu in Hawaii for two years.

The government appreciated Corcoran’s honorable service in the military by rewarding him with the rank of Sergeant and a tuition-paid education program at King’s College with a BA degree in teaching among other certifications. Only this could happen in America. Where else could a 17 year old youngster get to live in Hawaii then given a college education?

During his freshman year at King’s College, Corcoran applied for a position on the Plains Twp. Police Department. This was the first year of the civil service test ordered by the newly formed Civil Service Commission of Plains Twp. Because this civil service test was the first to be used for hiring purposes, the Township Commissioners agreed to hire the top candidate among the three applicants. Again, thanks to the RSM ladies of Sacred Heart School and the 7th, 8th and 8th grade teachers of the Plains Twp. Schools, Bob receive the appointment.

After graduation from King’s College, Corcoran resigned from the police force to begin his teaching career in Quebec City in the Province of Quebec, Canada.  As a teacher in Quebec, Corcoran committed to serve in the Cadet Army Corps as rifle instructor. Training was received at summer camp at Camp Fornham, Quebec.  In 1966, Corcoran was offered a position as a reading teacher at Coughlin; then in 1972 Corcoran was appointed supervisor of reading and language-arts of the Title I Program in the newly formed Wilkes-Barre Area School District. Later, Corcoran served as a vice-principal at Kistler Elementary for ten years; then transferred to Meyers High School as vice-principal. The next year, Corcoran was asked to go to Coughlin as vice-principal to work with Mr. William Schwab, principal. His response was, “Definitely, I would like to finish my career in the school where I first started teaching locally.”

During Corcoran’s career after having received his BA degree from King’s College; he earned his MS degree at the University of Scranton; and at Bucknell University Corcoran completed a post-graduate program in elementary and secondary administration and linguistics. While teaching in Quebec City, Corcoran studied French at Laval University.  As a teacher of reading at Coughlin High School, Corcoran’s first book, Dictionary Skills, was published by Popular Library, New York, who also was the publisher of the paperback edition of the Webster’s New World Dictionary. By invitation, Corcoran was invited to author another dictionary study-book published by Perfection Learning Company, Logan, Iowa.

Bob Corcoran enjoyed reading and writing. As a police officer, Corcoran was published in Law and Order Magazine; his article was about the prevention of juvenile delinquency. As an educator, Corcoran had several articles published in the Reading Improvement Journal. Corcoran later created a game, Star Words, for the efficacious learning of the words in the basic sight-vocabulary for early and remedial readers. This, too, was published and distributed by the Perfection Learning Company.

Special concerns to Robert, as a reading teacher, were the lack of accuracy in word pronunciation presented in the dictionaries; and the lack of phonics instruction in college and university courses for teachers. In 1970, the Webster’s New World Dictionary revised its Pronunciation Key. No longer were the pronunciation symbols emblazoned with bizarre and antiquated diacritical markings used by the dictionaries.  Bob bought and read the updated edition of the Webster’s New World Dictionary and in two days read the entire dictionary. No more esoteric symbols to clutter the page and confuse the readers: students, parents, and teachers. “Now I can pronounce every word in the dictionary with the certitude of being correct,” said Corcoran.

After retirement, Bob bought Falchek’s Drug Store, Hudson Road, Plains where he established Airmont Printing. Now for twenty years, Bob enjoyed the presentation of the printed word which soon became digital-printing. Motivated by his many teacher-friends during the breadth of his second career, two more books were published: Dictionary Skills for pronunciation, meaning, information and usage; and Dictionary Secrets: Sounds, Stress and Structure.   Later writings were about poetry and articles of interest. His last published work was the Hell-Bound Train, a collection of poetry, including some of his original works. It was certified by the U.S. Copyright Office on his 87th birthday, December 15, 2022.

Corcoran was employed by two school districts through his career: La Commission des Ecoles de Quebec, Canada; and the Wilkes-Barre Area School District.  As Bob enjoyed working in schools, he also enjoyed the higher levels of teaching as an adjunct instructor at: Misericordia University, Luzerne County Community College, Lackawanna Junior College, and summer session at Memorial University of Newfoundland located in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada. It is here that he made many friends who shared his love of fishing. Bob and Rose visited their friends, annually in Cottrell’s Cove, Newfoundland, Canada.  Bob was a 60 year member of the Plains American Legion Post 558, Marine Corps League, Polish American Veterans, Itlo Club and Perugia Club.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers John, Patrick, Thomas, and William “Joe” Corcoran.

Bob is survived by his wife, Rose and children; Dr. Robert, retired Lt. Colonel, USAF, now serving as a civilian for the Army in Virginia; Karen, retired educator; and Donna, a nurse; and grandchildren; Mary Margaret (Maggie), Ryan, Robert (Liam), and Shannon Corcoran; and Jillian and Dana Ambrose, sister Mary Caldarone, several nieces and nephews.

Funeral will be held ­­­­­Monday, May 15, 2023 at 9:30 am at the Corcoran Funeral Home, Inc., 20 South Main Street, Plains, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am at Saints Peter & Paul Church, 13 Hudson Road, Plains, PA  18705, with Father John C. Lambert, Pastor, officiating.  A live stream of the Funeral Mass will be on Saints Peter & Paul Parish FACEBOOK page.  Interment with Military Honors accorded by the United States Marine Corps and the Plains American Legion, Joseph E. Conlon, Post 558, will be held in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Plains.  Family and friends may call Sunday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to Saints Peter & Paul Church Food Pantry, C/O 13 Hudson Road, Plains, PA  18705 in Bob’s memory.


Phone 570-823-1358
Fax 570-829-6699


20 South Main St.
Plains, PA 18705

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