Kathleen "Tot" Corr - ex-Navy nurse and engaged citizen who excelled at housewifery before it became an endangered profession - was one of those irresistible forces that physicists write about.
Characterized as "feisty" and "a ball of energy," Mrs. Corr, who died of cancer Tuesday at 73, prodded her sons and Seattle civic leaders to do the right thing.
"She was definitely the force in our family," said her son Casey Corr, a Seattle Times reporter, "but didn't push us beyond our capabilities. She supported me, but didn't hector."
Active in politics
Mrs. Corr - one of five daughters of Irish immigrants - raised five sons. She also took time to organize a nurses' union at the King County Blood Bank, found the St. Gerard Guild Catholic service group, serve with the League of Women Voters, and work on the Municipal League candidate-evaluation committee.
Mrs. Corr volunteered for long, unpaid hours on the Muny League committee, helping to interview and assess candidates for city and county offices. "Her dedication to fairness was extraordinary," recalls Jean Godden, who was on the committee with Mrs. Corr in the 1970s and now is a Times columnist.
"She was very interested in politics," said her son. "She was an active debater at the dinner table."
Nurse in World War II
Mrs. Corr, raised in the Immaculate Parish near Providence Hospital, in 1939 was named queen of the Potlatch Festival, a Seafair precursor.
She earned her nursing degree at Seattle University, served as a Navy nurse (Lt./jg) in World War II, and was accepted into Gonzaga University Law School - although child-rearing soon had her full attention.
A Laurelhurst resident for 40-plus years, Mrs. Corr enjoyed a lively game of tennis and cherished her friends.
Dubbed `Tot' as child
Longtime neighbor Gloria Hennings fondly recalls "weekend escapes" that Mrs. Corr, Hennings and two others took to Vancouver, B.C., or Portland, leaving their kids with the husbands. They also had a reciprocal-dinner group.
"But she was really a true mom," said Hennings. "She cared a lot about her kids, her neighborhood and her friends."
Mrs. Corr's sisters dubbed her "Tot" in childhood. With her diminutive stature, the nickname stuck.
Other survivors include her husband Eugene Corr, former Seattle assistant police chief and U.S. Marshal; sons Kelly, Kerry, Patrick and Christopher Corr; 13 grandchildren, and sisters Eileen Lapinski and Patsy Taft, all of Seattle.
Services are at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Bridget Church, 4900 N.E. 50th St.
Remembrances may go to Assumption School, where eight of her grandchildren are students. The address is 6220 32nd Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA, 98105.