May 14, 2013.


July 23, 2012From Janet Grimstead Simons.
Ashley Corbell, B-1847 in Popular Branch, NC. D-1914 in Popular Branch. Son of Malachi Corbell and Nancy Midgett Owens. Married Martha Doxey (B-1847 D-1875) in ?. Children: (1) John Wilson B-5/19/1866 D-10/1/1942. (2) Tunis B-1868 D-1903. (3) Nancy Jane B-1870 D-1937. (4) Debbie B. ? (5) William B-1877 D-1941

John Wilson married (1) ? and had two children. Meddie and William. Married (2) Virginia Cordie Sawyer in 1898. She died giving birth to Beulah Virginia Corbell DeLon B-12/5/1898 D-7/19/1972. Married (3) Sadie Elizabeth Etheridge daughter of Jerome Bonaparte Etheridge. Children: (1) Blanch Virginia B-1901. (2) Issac Tunis B-2/1903.

Issac Tunis married Sarah Lane in ?. Children: (1) Isaac Tunis Jr. B-10/26/1923 Back Bay, Virginia Beach, VA D-2/28/2007 Garden Grove, CA. (2) Florence and (3) Marjorie.

May 14, 2013. From Sondra Vonsyoc.

Florence, Tunis, Sarah
Margie, Tunis Jr.
Florence, Sadie.

July 23, 2012

Tunis, Jr.

Isaac Tunis Corbell Jr., born Oct. 26, 1923, in Back Bay, Va., passed away peacefully at home in Garden Grove, Calif., Feb. 28, 2007. His family moved to Knotts Island while he was an infant and that is where he always called home. World War II called him away and he enlisted in the Navy. While in Washington, D.C., he met his future wife. Tunis and Dina were married in 1946. They moved to Raleigh, N.C., where Tunis attended North Carolina State and he received a degree in electrical engineering, Class of 1950. His following career in communications took him all over the world and spanned 40 years. He was known as one of the pioneers in world-wide microwave communication. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Bernardina; two sons, Isaac Corbell and his wife Gina of Charlotte, N.C., and John Corbell of Garden Grove, Calif.; his sister, Florence Flannigan and her husband Richard of Knotts Island; four granddaughters, Jennifer Marks and her husband Jason, Debra Corbell, Tiffany Corbell and Larina Corbell.

To Pastor Frank Jennings. From the Methodist Church collection.

Dear Frank, I am taking this opportunity to thank you for the beautiful service for my sister Margie. (Note: Service was May 22, 1998.)  I was also overcome with emotion by the hospitality displayed by the Church and the people of Knotts Island. The food, refreshments and fellowship extended to me and our family plus off-the-Island visiting friends is just unheard of most places in these days of high tech and speeding from one thing to another. As I have told people throughout the years, Knotts Island is a garden of Eden which I hope does not get discovered too fully in my lifetime. I especially enjoyed seeing people I had not seen in many years. Some, such as Ruby Davis, since my childhood days.

After I returned home I called Thelma Barton (Ewell) and found she had already heard about my sister‘s death. News travels fast between us Islanders. Thelma seems to be doing fine and her mother is as well as can be expected. Thelma says her memory is fading and she keeps asking for people in the past and she also wonders why she cannot go home.

I have always loved the Methodist Church on Knotts Island. My father was quite active at one time. He was on the board, head of the men's bible class and he conducted a Sunday night service at the church for young dating couples and any others who wished to attend. He often involved me in making an offertory speech or scripture reading when I was about 10 to 12 years old. On rainy days when we could not work on the farm he used to go door to door to collect money for the church and I would go with him. He covered the area from the Signpost (foot of the Marsh Road) to the church along what is now the main road, or Scuffling Town I think we used to call it in those days. I remember joining the Men's Bible Class when I was about thirteen and taking my turn at reading a verse of scripture as the reading passed from one to another. My grandfather, John, was quite active in the church and frequently offered the prayer at services, as was the custom of those days. Other active prayer offerers I remember were David Waterfield, Ferdinand Bonney and others that with more effort I might bring to memory.

Just a word about me. I dropped out of Creeds High School in the eighth grade and worked on our family farm for almost four years. I left Knotts Island for a job with the Corps of Engineers survey parties in Norfolk in 1940 (many Knotts Island people worked there thanks to Harold Waterfield who was Chief Engineer of the Norfolk District). In 1942 I joined the Navy and ended up spending almost 4 years working on breaking the German Enigma Code. This task was quite a change for an eighth grade dropout farm boy, but I was fortunate to be the only enlisted man with a group of Officer college professors and 800 Waves. During these four years I learned far more than the average high school education, especially about electronics since the group I was in developed some of the first computers to break the German code. I went to NC State, starting as a special student and graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1950. I think I was the first Knotts Islander to graduate from State which made me quite proud, especially since I graduated at or near the top of my class of 1200. I started out with GE in their training program and after 14 years there joined several different Companies in steadily increasing responsibilities. For example I started a Company, Video Microwave Inc. in Boston which we eventually sold to Southern Pacific Railroad. That system is now SPRINT- which I guess means I was one of the SPRINT founders. When I joined, the present Sprint had only nine employees in San Francisco and my company had nine, so we effectively doubled the size of the company in one day. I left SPRINT in 1979 and joined Harris Corp (of Melbourne Fla.) and ran one of their CA divisions specializing in television until I retired in l987. Since then I returned to my roots by becoming a full time gardener and a commercial fisherman on a 50 foot trawler out of Half Moon Bay. We are still active on the Pacific Ocean catching those large delicious dungeness crabs in the winter and trolling for king salmon in the summer.

The best part of all about my Navy years is that I met Dina (from Welch, WV) in Washington, and after a short courtship we were married in the Naval Chapel. We have had 52 glorious years and hope to have many more. She has surely been an equal partner in all my successes and the loving mother of our two sons. She is now mothering our four granddaughters.

Again Frank, I express my thanks for all you have done, and under separate cover I am sending a gift to the church.

Sincerely Tunis and Dina Corbell

COMMENT - FRANK JENNINGS Pastor of Knott's Island United Methodist "79-81" and "June 90 - Nov. 99"

Tunis had a captivating presence from the first time I met him. He came from an era of time when you were told "you could" and "HE DID". With little formal early education he still rose to accomplish great things. Yet he was humble in his presentation. His letter here is not braggadocios, but simply states the facts. He is no doubt missed by the family. But the world has lost a mind that was sharp (and not from book learning) but from simple courage to go beyond oneself. I was fascinated with the man. From his unique name Tunis to his wit and wisdom. I was humbled several years later after this letter he wrote about his sister's funeral to do his funeral. It was a severe rainy day yet many still came to pay their respects to family and to him. That speaks well for a native son of Knott's Island who moved away to the West coast long many years before. Thank You, Tunis Corbell, I am a little better for having known you.

Corbell Endows Scholarship in College of Engineering
September 26, 2001.
Mr. and Mrs. I. Tunis Corbell presented a gift of $168,557 to establish the I. Tunis and Bernardina B. Corbell scholarship in the College of Engineering at NC State University. The gift will fund scholarships for students pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering, with first preference to students who had attended Knotts Island Elementary School in Currituck County.

Corbell, a World War II veteran and 1950 electrical engineering graduate of NC State, spent 34 years in the engineering field, retiring in 1987 as vice president and manager of Harris California Broadcast Operation.

Dean Nino A. Masnari said of the gift, “This commitment by the Corbell family is an investment in tomorrow's leaders. The scholarship will allow some of the brightest and most energetic young people to attend NC State and will strengthen the university's commitment to attracting top scholars to NC State