Gladys Jolandis Corbett was born on February 27th, 1939, in Selma North Carolina. She was the daughter of the late Ethel Lee O'Neal and late Major Smith Sr. She departed this life on Sunday, March 13th, 2022, at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey after a long battle with heart disease.
Gladys lived and received her early education in the Selma school system. Her mother, Ethel Lee, provided her with the best of everything, as she was her only child. As Glady's grew older, her desire for independence grew, with her mother's blessing she moved to Baltimore Maryland with her Uncle Thurman. She continued her education in the Baltimore school system and worked as a part-time Nanny. During this time, she had a beautiful baby girl, Deborah, better known as "Debra or Debbie".
While in Baltimore, through a close friend, she met her future husband, Dick Lee “James” Corbett in 1957, they would later marry in July of 1976. From that union came two sons, James Jr. And Manny "Tyrone" Corbett.
Dick Lee migrated to Newark New Jersey seeking a better life and job for his new family. Once he was settled Gladys with her family moved with him in 1964. With the hard work and dedication from herself and her husband they would see the fruits of their labor and in 1973 they moved and purchased a home in Linden, New Jersey. She retired from Staten Island State School for the disabled, located in Staten Island, New York, after 25 plus years of service in 1997. She worked overnights, catching buses and rides until she was able to purchase a car. This is the type of sacrifices she made just so that she would be home in the morning when her children and grandchildren woke up.
Gladys was known to everyone as loving, caring, kind, hardworking, reliable, a provider, protector and the glue that kept her family together. She made sure that her children and Grandchildren had weekend outings, home cooked meals every day, the latest fashion trends and lots of love. She also showed this same love and caring spirit to their friends and family members. You could always find her sitting on the steps at 1403 Union Street, with a cigarette in hand, waving and greeting everyone as they rode or walked by and stopped to talk. She was everyone’ second mother and grandmother, everyone loved and respected her, she was the best.
Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, Dick Lee Corbett, mother, Ethel Lee O’Neal, father Major Smith Sr., brother Jimmy Settles, and cousin, Mary O’Neal. She leaves to cherish her memory, sisters Marie Walker, Sandra Clay, Winnie Smith (Ricky); brothers Major Smith Jr. (Maria) and Gregory Smith; one daughter, Deborah Corbett, two sons, James Corbett Jr., Manning Tyrone Corbett; two stepdaughters, Christine Sharp and Karen Davis; two special granddaughters/daughters, Kenya Reed-Downey (Ivan) and Ebony Springer, five granddaughters, Naireda “Nay Nay” Green, Ayesha Drummond, Emma Davis, Kionna Davis and Aykea Wright; three grandsons, Pierre Davis, Jaron Corbett and James Corbett Jr. III, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild and host of cousins and friends. Special acknowledgements to special son Doral Robinson & special granddaughter Jahnay Haskins.
A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, March 26, 2022 at 10:00am at the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church 1002 Rivington Street Roselle, NJ. Visitation 9:00am until time of service. Arrangements are in the loving care of Nesbitt Funeral Home 165 Madison Avenue Elizabeth, NJ.
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