Ethiopia’s First Peace Corps Staff, Part Five

Ed Corboy, from Hyde Park, Mass, packed a rifle in the infantry from 1943 to 1946. With the war’s end, he returned to Massachusetts and completed a business course at Bryant and Straton school in Boston. The Foreign Service School at Georgetown attracted him to Washington, and he studied there at night for the next five years while working days as a secretary to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In 1956, shortly before he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, he was invited to work as a law clerk for the Washington law firm of Covington and Burling. This firm, involved in the Dupont-General Motors anti-trust action, came to Georgetown to hire 30 people, of whom two were asked to stay on when the anti-trust suit was concluded.

One of the two was Corboy, “and a lucky thing, too,” he now says. For it was at Covington and Burling, that he met his wife, the former Joan Cowley of New York, as well as Harris Wofford. In 1958, he moved to the Civil Aeronautics Board as an air transportation examiner with the duty of establishing the amount of subsidy to be paid local service carriers.

In 1960, he moved to Tipton & Michael Printing Company in Washington as general manager and vice president. He had declined the foreign service and continued to live in Washington because his wife had been stricken with polio.

In 1955 when she was the mother of two children (the Cowboy’s now have six children including a baby born in Addis Ababa), blonde, attractive Joan Corboy was named Polio Mother of the Year. She has since fought valiantly and successfully against the debilitating effects of the disease. In 1962, when Wofford asked Corboy to go to Ethiopia, Mrs. Corboy was ready to go with him.


Part Five, Ethiopia Staff Research Document: Who’s Who in the Peace Corps Overseas Administration (1963) The photographs are by Rowland Scherman, Paul Conklin and Jim Walls, first photographers for the agency.


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