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Eugene John Corcoran

August 18, 1935 — December 30, 2023

Conway

Eugene John Corcoran

EUGENE J. CORCORAN 1935 – 2023
Eugene J. Corcoran passed away on Saturday, December 30 at the age of 88. He was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on August 18, 1935 to Martin and Mary Doyle Corcoran. After the outbreak of World War II, the family moved to Philadelphia where numerous job opportunities opened up for the construction and repair of warships. Like many young Americans of the 1950s, he served for two and a half years in the United States Air Force. Upon his discharge he took advantage of Veterans education benefits and enrolled in Villanova University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He then lit out for the territories, and after criss-crossing the country he managed to qualify for two additional academic degrees, from the University of California Riverside, and finally completing his PhD in History at the University of Kansas.
In the late sixties while in California he attended the Defense Language Institute of Foreign Language Center at the Presidio in Monterrey where he learned to speak and write Mandarin. After completion he did research in Taiwan where there was a good opportunity to practice the language.
In 1974 he was hired as an assistant professor of East Asian history at the State College of Arkansas (UCA). After teaching Modern China, Japan, the War in the Pacific, and even some world and American history he retired in 2005 to pursue his hobby, gardening, specifically raising “to-die-for” tomatoes. Come summertime many friends, family and history colleagues anxiously awaited Gene’s box of tomatoes to be delivered to them.
Gene made many friends and was revered by his colleagues in the Department of History, as well as in the community. A lover of Big Band and classical music he was a patron of Reynolds Performance Hall, and specifically loved the excellent concerts provided by the Conway Symphony Orchestra. His study included at least 200 music compact discs as well as two walls of bookcases filled with books. Many afternoons were spent playing his music CDs on the back porch. Weekly he got together with Harry Readnour, Foy Lisenby, Jim Southerland and Harold Cummins to play hearts and rook.
Gene and Judy enjoyed traveling in the US, the Natural Parks. Some special favorites were Yellowstone, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, and a Rocky Mountain train excursion in Canada. But the trip he took to South Africa with his daughter was the real highlight of his life. The most recent trip planned was to be to Glacier National Park until his illness interrupted those plans.
Gene is survived by his wife Judy, daughter Mary Vanhooser (Aaron), three grandchildren, Parker, Nathaniel and Taylor Vanhooser, step children Holly Meriweather (John) and Daren Price (Sarah), four step grandchildren, and three step great grandchildren; his sister Patricia Fellona (Tom) and her family . He is predeceased by his parents and his brother Martin Corcoran.
He very much enjoyed learning about his grandchildren’s accomplishments and watching them grow through visits to Kansas, holiday and birthday visits to Arkansas, and photos sent on line by his daughter.
Visitation will be 11:00 Friday, January 5 at Griffin Leggett Funeral Home in Conway on Dave Ward Drive. Memorial service will follow at 12:10. Friends, family and colleagues are welcome to stay and offer remembrances if desired. Cremation remains will be taken care of at a later date.
Donations instead of flowers will be graciously accepted in Gene’s name to the Conway Symphony Orchestra at CSO, PO Box 1307, Conway AR 72033.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Eugene John Corcoran, please visit our flower store.
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Visitation

Friday, January 5, 2024

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Friday, January 5, 2024

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