Col. Otis Wesley “Wes” Corman, USMC (Ret.), a longtime resident of Ellensburg, passed away at age 94 peacefully at his home with family by his side on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. A family memorial will be held in California at a later date. In lieu of a public service in Ellensburg, his wishes were that donations be made to Hospice Friends in Ellensburg.
Wes was born on November 19, 1923 at the family farm in Rushville, Illinois to Wallace & Lulu (Skiles) Corman. He grew up in the Rushville-Galesburg area and graduated from Galesburg High School in 1941. Shortly after graduation, Wes joined the United States Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. After the conclusion of WWII, Wes remained in the service and earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. In addition to his WWII service, Wes also served in the Korean conflict earning a Silver Star, and in Viet Nam where he established and commanded the photo reconnaissance squadron VMCJ-1.
While stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Wes met Marjorie Aiken at an officer’s party in Laguna Beach California and the couple married on October 20, 1945. The young couple were stationed on Marine Bases on the East & West coasts. His children have fond memories of living in England, Hawaii, and California and of traveling across country in the family’s Airstream trailer, camping out in national parks along the way. Wes retired as a full colonel in 1969 after 27 years of exemplary service to his country.
After his retirement from the Marine Corps, Wes and Marjorie settled on Ellensburg as their permanent home. They loved the small college town atmosphere and all the outdoor amenities that the Kittitas Valley had to offer. After earning his master’s degree at CWU, Wes taught industrial arts and math at Easton High School for two years. There are many students who remember and treasure the profound impact that “Colonel Corman” had on their life.
Wes was very active, even up until the time of his death. He absolutely loved golfing and woodworking and spent many hours hand-crafting furniture. He enjoyed completing many projects around his home and was a “fix it” kind of guy. He and Marjorie purchased a 42-foot cabin cruiser, which they named “The Blue Whale”, and between the two of them, restored it from the ground up. Many fond family memories were had cruising and camping on The Blue Whale. Wes and Marjorie later sold the boat and purchased a motor home and would take road trips to visit their children in Oregon and California.
Most of all, Wes was a very loving husband, father and grandfather who would do anything for his family. He enjoyed sitting and visiting with anyone and always had a story to tell. He even had business cards that read “Wes Corman, Retired. Available for lunch and dinner.”
Wes is survived by his children Joan, Steven and Barbara; grandchildren Elizabeth, Danielle, Lauren, Jessica and Joshua; two great-grandsons Jackson and James, along with many nieces, nephews and friends. He is also survived by his nephew, Terry Mullen, of whom he thought of as another son. Wes was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie; daughter, Diane; his parents and two siblings.
Memorial contributions in Wes’s honor are suggested to Hospice Friends, 302 S. Main Street, Ellensburg, WA 98926. The family would like to thank KVH Hospice, Hospice Friends and Wes’s dedicated caregiver Patti Leithead for their care and dedication these last few years.
Steward & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.steward-williams.com