John Patrick Corkran left us unexpectedly following a medical procedure on March 20, 2020 in Missoula, Montana. He was the second son born to Leland Davis Corkran and Regina Marguerite Prevost Corkran on August 27, 1950 in Kalispell, Montana.
Shortly after his birth the family moved to Great Falls where he attended elementary school. In 1957 the family moved to Fairbanks, Territory of Alaska where his dad, Lee, continued his engineering career.
Johnny Pat, as his mom and many cousins called him, attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Fairbanks and Monroe High School through his junior year. When his dad retired the family moved back to Great Falls where John graduated from Great Falls High School in 1968.
John attended the University of Montana before making the career choice to pursue his passion as a heavy equipment and crane operator. He returned to Alaska where he was an accomplished operating engineer. John’s work included construction of the Alaska pipeline and many other heavy infrastructure projects in the ‘frozen north’.
John returned to Montana for brief periods each year and purchased his “place of peace on earth” in the Potomac Valley in 1978. After completing a career in the north he returned to the lower 48 and in the Potomac Valley he finally put down roots and lived for the remainder of his life. It was there that he operated his gravel and material hauling business and realized his dream of building hot rods and restoring classic cars. He had a shop most motorheads would die for. His wrench turning and Harley riding friends were like family to him. Of course we have to mention “The Raisins”, of which he was one of the last surviving members, until his passing.
John married Patricia Burke in 2002 bringing to the marriage a daughter and granddaughter. They later divorced.
John (JP, Johnny Pat) was a whole lot more than this resume says about the man. To his cousins he was a quiet man who like his brother, was his own person. He sometimes seemed distant, yet from a distance was a deliberate benefactor to and for many.
Judging from sitting at his desk and looking at all the photos and mementos hanging on the walls, he was a man of faith. He was also very proud of his family. The photos on the walls tell a story. There is also a common theme in his letters, notes and jottings. He held family close, as extended as it is. He was always connected to his relatives, whether they were first or fourth cousins. He was especially proud of his French-Canadian and Irish ancestry. The connection to his Missoula/Frenchtown and Sidney, Montana families anchored him throughout his life. Many of the extended families remain connected because of him.
His cousin, Deb said, “one of my favorite memories is when they surprised me at the regional basketball tournament in Spokane. They drove over to watch me play. It meant the world to me.” It was unannounced and unexpected. John and his third cousin, Warren who will turn ninety years of age this month, stayed close through the years. Warren offered this story excerpt for John and how he lived his life. "I haven't cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel wind on my face. So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner, then should I die before night fall, I'd say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart's desire. I had that final piece of pie before my life expired."
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Leland “Corky” Corkran. He leaves behind one aunt, Joan Prevost Conlin and uncle Ed Conlin as well as numerous cousins in the Prevost and Corkran families.
A memorial service and celebration of Catholic mass for John will be celebrated at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church in Bonner on Saturday, September 19 at 11:00. Father Michael Poole officiating. Interment will be at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Great Falls on Friday, September 25.
Memorials in John’s name may be made to, University of Montana Foundation, Montana State University Foundation, University of Great Falls (University of Providence), University of Alaska, Fairbanks Alumni Association and Monroe Foundation, Inc. (Fairbanks Catholic Schools) Fairbanks, Alaska.