Our community recently lost a great man who excelled in business and public service as well as as a civic leader, statesman, mentor and friend.
In 2008, George Corrigan was one of this writer’s first “Gables Greats.” It seemed appropriate on his passing to share with our readers how much this amazing man influenced our city from being a mentor to countless individuals to his vision that actually included the revitalization of Miracle Mile, long before it was a consideration in the budget.
Corrigan’s impact on Coral Gables and Miami-Dade County has been impressive. A three-time elected mayor of Coral Gables and a Rotarian, George Corrigan’s life was one that followed Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self.”
Over the years, he served on countless charitable and corporate boards of directors, sharing his insight and wisdom that came from a 32-year career in retailing and another 13 years in banking — not to mention his military service.
After retiring in 1983 as vice president, member of the board and store manager for the Dadeland Burdines (now Macy’s), the largest store in sales volume in the nation, he turned to banking. Corrigan, a founding director of the Bank of Coral Gables, became its president, and then board chair. Through a series of mergers it later became part of Bank of America. He also served two years as a member of the advisory committee to financial institutions for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
George served as chair of the Coral Gables Community Foundation and sat on such boards as the Dr. John T Macdonald Foundation and Baptist Health. As a big time University of Miami Hurricane fan, Corrigan was a member of the University of Miami’s Iron Arrow Society.
It was at the University of Miami, where he earned a Business Administration degree majoring in management, marketing, finance and economics.
His leadership skills were evident early as he served in a variety of service clubs, was Junior Class president, advertising and then business manager for the The Hurricane school newspaper. He also was involved in Sigma Chi social fraternity, played varsity sports and was listed in the Who’s Who of American Colleges and Universities.
Corrigan served in the United States Naval Reserve from 1945 through 1953 and was called to active duty in 1951 for the Korean conflict.
At Jacksonville Naval Air Station he was a supply officer assigned to a squadron aboard the aircraft carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt. He saw service in the the Mediterranean Sea with NATO forces, and sailed above the Arctic Circle qualifying for membership in the “Royal Order of the Blue Noses,” established by Admiral Byrd.
George was widowed twice and is survived by his daughter, Susan. There will be a celebration of his life on Friday, May 25, 11 a.m., at First United Methodist Church in Coral Gables, 536 Coral Way.
George Corrigan was and will remain forever a true Gables Great.