Obituary: Corbett E. Hart, Jr.
April 3, 1936 — December 6, 2018
Corbett E. Hart Jr. was born on April 3, 1936 in Caraway, Arkansas to Corbett and Effie Hart. He died at his home, Spronks Creek Ranch, on December 6, 2018. He served in the US Army, Seventh Signal Corps, in the mid-1950s, then attended Southern Illinois University on the GI Bill. During college he obtained a job at McDonnell Aircraft. Due to his high security clearance from his service in the Army he was contracted to NASA working on the Mercury capsule program from start to finish. After graduating with a BS in accounting, Corbett began a career of public service, first with the IRS in Springfield, IL, followed by 32 years as an FBI Special Agent in Denver, San Francisco, and Memphis, and 10 years as Deputy Chief with the Shelby County (TN) Sheriff’s Department. He has two sons, Mike and Scott, with his first wife Berneita Smallmon Hart.
Corbett had a passion for the outdoors and friends and his dogs Annie and Colleen. He was introduced to hunting, fishing, and farming while growing up on sharecropper farms in Northeast Arkansas and was referred to lovingly as Junior. Corbett avidly pursued those activities from then on, fishing for catfish in the Mississippi River and trout in the Little Red River from his weekend home in Heber Springs, Arkansas. He liked nothing more than hunting for elk with his dear friend Ellis “Eddie” Young Jr. and other buddies. Corbett’s love of the outdoors and friends culminated in his and Barbara’s retirement to a small ranch in South Routt County, Colorado in 2001, where they expanded their network of close relationships in a place and with a lifestyle he frequently and proudly described as “Paradise.” In addition to his passions, Corbett was devoted to protecting people and upholding justice through his career in law enforcement, a career that was enabled by his physical and emotional strength, innate leadership qualities, commitment to colleagues, and support from family. With encouragement from those who loved hearing him recount the stories from his law enforcement days, in October of 2017 Corbett published his memoir, If You Shoot Shoot to Kill: An FBI Agent’s Unusual Career. Corbett’s stories, captured in print, validate the feelings of those who knew him and thought of him as a hero.
Corbett was preceded in passing by his father Corbett Sr., his mother Effie, sisters Glenda and Doris Jean, and ten years ago by his firstborn grandson Michael Don Hart Jr. He is survived by his wife of 25 years Barbara, his sons Mike (Pam) and Scott; sisters Gladys Hart Ingram and Dessie Hart Owens; grandchildren Jennifer Hart (Nathan) Henry, Corbett Lee Hart and Elana Nicole Hart, great-grandchildren John and Jenna and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews; stepchildren David MacIntosh, Molly MacIntosh and Paul MacIntosh; and step grandchildren Lily, Katie, Connor, Madeleine and Kristian.
A private memorial service with Military Honors was held on December 19 at the ranch. A celebration of life will be held in the spring or summer 2019. Donations in Corbett’s memory may be sent to the Routt County Humane Society, PO Box 772080, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477; routthumane.org; 970-879-7247.
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