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Organist and choir director dies at 103

Birthday girl: Doris Corbin, who died on Sunday at the age of 103, is pictured at a celebration of her 100th birthday(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

One of the Island’s centenarians, Doris Corbin, a longstanding organist and choir director for St Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, died on Sunday at the age of 103.

A former teacher at Central Primary School, now Victor Scott Primary School, Mrs Corbin was awarded the Certificate and Badge of Honour by the Queen in 1983 for her service in the Girl Guide movement.

According to her son Canterbury “Kenty” Corbin, she was also proud of her 1932 certificate as a charter member of the Bernarr McFadden chapter, following the teachings of United States health and fitness guru.

“She was into her exercises and was living her life to the maximum right up until the end,” said Mr Corbin, thanking caregiver Venus Coloque for assisting with his mother’s quality of life.

Mrs Corbin, who grew up in North Village, recalled her earliest memories for The Royal Gazette on her 100th birthday in 2011.

“I attended the Grace Methodist Church on North Shore,” she said on that occasion. “I must have been very young.

“As I sat in the pew, I tried to reach the pew in front of me with my little toes.”

Asked for the secret of her longevity, Mrs Corbin extolled a good diet, no smoking and keeping fit. She believed in keeping involved, such as a special seniors’ tea held by Age Concern in April.

For decades she lived with her husband Clarence at Cemetery Road in Pembroke, where she remained after Mr Corbin passed in 2010.

The couple had two other sons: George “Lien” Corbin and the late Michael Corbin.

Relatives and friends met yesterday at the house, its garden of fruit trees, hibiscus and honeysuckle providing an oasis of calm despite the Belco plant next door.

Her funeral will be held at 2pm this Saturday at St Paul Church in Hamilton.