Mrs Irene Corbett

Irene Corbett

Mrs Walter Harris Corbett (Irene Colvin) was bornn in Payson, Utah on 6 August 1881.

A Mormon, she was the daughter of Levi Alexander Colvin (1857-1928), a farmer, and Mary Alice Curtis (1858-1940). Both her parents, who had married in 1880, were also Utah-born and of English, Canadian and American heritage. Her father was a county official, had served as a trustee of Payson school district and was also a Bishop in the Church of Latter Day Saints.

She had three sisters: Kady (1882-1963, later Mrs Sidney Cluff), Nellie (1889-1967) and Hattie Lucile (1892-1968, later Mrs Samuel Solomon), and two brothers Curtis (1885-1904) and Tracy Sherman (1887-1972). Irene appears on the 1900 census living in Payson City, Utah, still with her family.

An alumni of Provo Academy, she later graduated with a teaching certificate and taught in an elementary school, Peteetneet Academy, a profession she left behind upon her marriage. She was married on 11 December 1905 to Walter Harris Corbett (b. 28 October 1883), a farmer, and they had three children:  Walter Colvin (b. 16 December 1906), Kady Roene (b. 5 November 1908) and Mack Colvin (b. 27 December 1910). The family were listed on the 1910 census living in Pleasant View, Utah.

Irene made plans to travel to London in the winter of 1911 to study midwifery. This was in spite of her husband's wishes, and that of his family, also members of Church of Latter Day Saints who were against her designs. Her own family gave their blessing to her plans and Irene, a firm supporter of women's suffrage, started out for London's General Lying-In Hospital, a pioneering maternity infirmary. Her three children were taken under the care of her parents in her absence.

Her parents received a letter from her on 15 April 1912 in which she said she would take passage on the Titanic, also stating that several Mormon elders were also taking passage. In the end, however, the other Mormon passengers did not travel aboard Titanic and Irene travelled alone. Irene boarded the Titanic in Southampton as a second class passenger (ticket number 237249 which cost £13).

Irene Corbett was one of fourteen ladies travelling in second class that were among the lost. The reasons for her remaining behind on the ship to meet her fate are not known and her body was never recovered. She is commemorated in a memorial in Peteetneet Academy.

After the sinking, Bishop Colvin telegraphed New York to find out what had happened to his daughter. He received in answer two telegrams on the afternoon of 19 April. The first stated:

"New York, April 19, Levi Colvin, Provo, Utah. Neither the name of Mrs Irene Corbett nor anything like it appears on the Titanic's second cabin list of passengers as having sailed from Southampton. WHITE STAR LINE."

Minutes later the second telegram arrived:

"New York, April 19, Levi Colvin, Provo, Utah. Now find name of Mrs Irene C. Corbett is on the list of passengers having sailed from Southampton, but regret is not a survivor on Carpathia. WHITE STAR LINE."

Her widower Walter Harris Corbett was remarried on 11 November 1914 to a woman named Annie Dean but died less than three years later when he was involved in a mining accident and died on 4 February 1917 following surgery.

Her children Mack and Kady were taken in by their maternal grandparents and they appear on the 1920 and 1930 census records living in Salt Lake City. Her son Walter appears with his paternal  grandparents on the 1920 census living in Pleasant View, Utah.

Walter Colvin was married in 1933 to Annie MacKay and had at least one child, a son named Walter (b. 1936). He died in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Kady Roene was married to Paul Ward (1909-1995) and she died in Nevada in 1973.

Mack Colvin was married in 1932 to Grace Lora Perschon (1911-2007) and raised a family. He died in Salt Lake City in 1976.




Irene Corbett and one of her children
The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City  (1912) 
Irene Corbett

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2018) 
The Evening Standard, Ogden City, Utah, (1912) 
The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City (1912) 
The Evening Standard, Ogden City, Utah, (1912) 
Salt Lake Tribune (1912) 
Salt Lake Tribune (1912) 

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Gavin Bell, UK
Homer Thiel, USA

References and Sources

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), 17 April 1912, p. 1, 20 April 1912, p. 3
Women of Faith, Irene Colvin Corbett
The Herald Extra, 15 April 2012; Grandson of Titanic Victim Remembers  
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) Irene Corbett Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #387, updated 13th January 2020 14:31:23 PM)