Robert E. Corbin died on March 23, 2017 at Mass General Hospital after open-heart surgery, a few days after becoming 86 years old. Always known as Robin, he had a lifelong connection to and a deep love for Newport that went back several generations.
His great grandfather, James Thomas Rhodes, who owned a shipping company in Providence, RI, was married to Elizabeth Bucklin Pope also of Providence, In 1853, he built “Roselawn,” one of the earliest Bellevue Avenue summer cottages. Their daughter Bessie married Richard W. Corbin, a descendant of a Virginia family, who- resided in Paris at the time. Spurred by “what I consider my duty,” he departed France to fight in the American Civil War, They met in Newport.
Although living in France, and educated in England at Eton and Cambridge, Robin’s father Richard Beverley Corbin returned to the U. S. to attend Harvard Law School. He met and married Lucy Elliot of New York, and never looked back, living in New York and Newport thereafter.
Born in 1931 in New York City, , Robin spent cherished summers in Newport where he sailed and played tennis and made lifelong friends. . He graduated from The Buckley School in NY, St. Mark’s School in Southborough, and Harvard University, where he was on the crew team, and an active member of the army reserve, After graduating, he worked in New York as an account manager at a major advertising agency, SSC& B, and as an investment counselor on Wall Street at Brundage, Story and Rose.. In 1976, he married his wife Jan, the former Janet Grace Gigliotti Hicks. and moved permanently to Newport. After buying and renovating a 1900 Ogden Codman house, they became interested in Newport’s venerable architectural heritage, which inspired him to start a real estate agency, “Private Properties,” that marketed many of Newport’s iconic houses. He created and ran “The Newport Directory,”an annual publication to provide a service for the resort community enabling them to track and locate their peripatetic friends each year. . He was a member of The Spouting Rock Beach Association, and a past president of The Reading Room,
Robin Corbin was predeceased by his brother R. Beverley Corbin Jr. and his sister Elizabeth Kingsland.
He is survived and forever loved by his wife Jan, his nephews R Beverley Corbin III of Newport, Nicholas C. Kingsland of Washington, DC, his niece Lucia Gesinus-Visser of Geneva, Switzerland, and his many many friends. There will be a private burial for the family. A memorial will be held later this summer.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Seamen’s Church Institute, 18 Market Square, Newport, RI or to the Boys and Girls Club of Newport County, Attn: Advancement, 95 Church Street, Newport, RI 02840.