Pella Chronicle


January 24, 2014

Mike Corum

Pella — Mike Corum, of Pella, Iowa, passed away on January 13, 2014, at Pella Hospice Comfort House after a tough battle with pancreatic cancer.

Mike was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on December 18, 1955.  He graduated valedictorian of his class from Center Point High School in 1974.  During this time, Mike climbed the ranks of Scouts eventually becoming a Scout Master. Sport participation included football, baseball, pole vaulting and track relays. 

He received his B.A. in Business and Economics graduating summa cum laude from Coe College in 1978, a brother in the Phi Kappa Ta Fraternity.  Upon graduating, Mike was employed by Ford in Detroit for two years. In 1979, Mike married Jaxine Miller, his loving wife and life partner of almost 35 years.

Relocating to Pella, Iowa in 1980, he started a new career of 18 years, at Pella Windows.  In Pella, Mike and Jaxine had son, Grant, and daughter, Suzanne. 

Within that time, he completed his M.B.A. at Drake in 1986. Relocating between the Midwest and New England, Mike and Jaxine had their final son Andrew "Satch" Corum in Rockford, Illinois.  As a "darn good dad", he was remembered for his stunning magic tricks, daily jingles, relentless sense of humor and strong active support in bringing out his children’s skills in all possible fields they pursued.  

During these years, Mike successfully completed the Des Moines, Anchorage and New York City Marathons.  He was also an active member of the Great Ape Trust, Iowa Poetry Association, ACLU, Kiwanas, Pella Arts Council President, and Iowa Democratic Party.  Corum also wrote an editorial column, "From the Left", which appeared in the Pella Chronicle and offered his political views on a variety of topics.

The Corum family returned to Pella when Mike switched occupations to Vermeer Manufacturing. In his new position of Industrial Distribution Manager, he was able to travel extensively throughout every U.S. state along with the countries of India, Australia, all Canadian provinces,Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia, Iceland, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Dubai, Western Europe, South Africa, and Japan assisting local businesses in all these places for 13 years. 

In early 2000, Mike and Jaxine built their modern country home on the Pella outskirts, being awarded a 'House of Excellence in Design' for their collaboration with the architecture firm HLKB, and is still viewable today. 

Mike and Jaxine believe very strongly in supporting the arts and writing, and offered scholarships in these fields for Pella Community High Schools students.

"I am a native Iowan with deep roots in my state; I am proud of my Black Foot descent.  I enjoy the art and magic of storytelling and attempt to capture this wonder in my poetry."

During these later years, Mike's creativity showed brightly as he created a large series of inspired acrylic paintings, wrote a fully illustrated comic titled "The Irregulars", and importantly began his career as a poet.  In 2012, Mike started his M.A. in Creative Writing with a focus on Poetry at the University of Nebraska. 

His poetry was published, during his final year, in Vox Poetica, Yellow Medicine Review, About Place Journal, Uno Kudo Vol. 3, Iowa Laurel, Encore, Wordland 3, and Whiskey Island.  He also placed 3rd in the 2012 NFSPS Annual Contest for Poetry Founders Award, and one of his poems was chosen to be displayed on Des Moines public transit buses. 

One of Mike's final trips was to the Black Hills in South Dakota to offer clothes and goods to his sponsored Lakota grandmother Grandma Sun Bear, and her family, through the One Spirit Sponsor. His final job was with Iowa State University's CIRAS program in which he worked with helping small businesses in Iowa. 

He is survived by his father Stan Corum, sisters Peggy and Nancy, his ever-loving wife Jaxine, sons Grant and Andrew, daughter Suzanne, son-in-law Keith Rich, daughter-in-law Suzanne Stone, sister-in-law Lucy Miller, many nieces and nephews, "adopted" children, beloved "pups" Momo and Henry, fish "Sir Knucklehead" and 3 cats, Pez, Vincent and Hongo.

We'll let Mike close with his own words,"You're never too old to learn or chase your dreams."

Memorials may be given to the family through the Crossroads of Pella. 

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