First Posted: 7/23/2013
Michael J. Corcoran, 71 , went home to the Lord on Thursday evening, July 18, 2013, after a courageous battle with cancer. His beloved wife, Roberta, and family were at his bedside.
Born May 26, 1942, a son of the late Hugh and Marie (Mattick) Corcoran, Dad was a 1960 graduate of Sacred Heart High School, Plains Township. He was class president three of four years, an altar boy throughout his school years and, to hear him speak, was a better-than-average basketball player.
Dad received the American Legion Award for the highest academic average over his eight years of grade school. Dad possessed a bachelor’s degree from King’s College, where he served as secretary and president of the Student National Education Association, and was a proud member of the King’s College Glee Club.
He also earned a master’s degree from the University of Scranton and completed career enrichment courses at Temple University, Glassboro State University, Wilkes University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Graduate School.
After three years of teaching, Dad served 31 years with the U.S. Department of Labor’s wage and hour division. He often described his role enforcing laws protecting the American worker as a vocation, the best and most satisfying job in the world. Laws enforced included the Minimum Wage and Overtime Law, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act as well as statutes protecting children, the disabled, the rights of migrant workers and those performing on government contracts.
Dad’s positive attitude reflected itself in his many career accomplishments. At the local level he served as investigator, assistant district director and district director. Regionally, he performed as equal pay and age discrimination specialist, government contracts specialist, sheltered workshop specialist and administrative assistant to the regional director.
A frequent instructor at wage and hour national training classes, including spending five weeks in the U.S. Virgin Islands training their investigative staff, Dad was consistently asked to serve lengthy details at the national office level. These included branch chief of wage hour standards and branch chief of government contracts.
For many years he served on regional and national quality-control teams, conducting accountability reviews to ensure consistent application of agency statues. He served as district director of wage-hour’s Wilkes-Barre office for the last 17 years of his career. The office covered more than half of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
Subsequent to the 1972 Agnes flood, Dad was detailed to the Office of Emergency Preparedness. He was in charge of all disaster relief agencies stationed at the Forty Fort borough building, the area near the cemetery where the river first breached the levee. He would brag that he met President Richard Nixon and comedian Bob Hope, who were among many visiting dignitaries during this difficult time. Dad believed government existed to protect, to allow realization of the American Dream and to provide for the needy and unfortunate among us.
He lived his personal life in a similar caring, compassionate manner, especially so toward his children, grandchildren and close friends. An infectiously positive person, Dad believed life was best guided by simple sayings. Among his favorites was “Just do it, but think beyond yourself.”
A third degree Knight of Columbus, Council 302, and a past member of its advisory board, Dad also served on the Wilkes-Barre School District advisory committee and was a founding member of Deerhorn Sportsmen’s Club. He was a member of the Polish American Vets, the Great Bend VFW and the Perugia Beneficial Society.
Dad’s parents and his sister, Ellen, preceded him in death.
In addition to Roberta, his beloved wife of 48 years, Dad is survived by children, Michael and his fiancee, Nancy Angus, Cranberry Township, Denise Lewandowski and her husband, Bernie, Boiling Springs, and Sandy Graham and her husband, Mark, Carlisle; six grandchildren, Matthew, Katherine, Alyson, Jake, Andrew and Mackenzie, each loved equally and without bounds; a brother, Hugh and his wife, Dorothy, Pittston; sister, Marie Spagnuolo and her husband, John, Plains Township; brothers, Ray and his wife, Joyce, Linglestown, and John and his wife, Marilyn, Plains Township.
Dad was especially comforted throughout his illness by family and friends who “just did it,” including routine visits to and maintenance chores at our home, driving assistance on the many trips to Fox Chase Hospital in Philadelphia and get-well cards.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Tuesday in St. Frances X Cabrini Church, Carverton. Interment was in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Plains Township.
Arrangements were provided by the Corcoran Funeral Home Inc., 20 S. Main St., Plains Township.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at www.jdrf.org. Online condolences may be made at www.corcoranfuneralhome.com.