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Former State Senator Doyle Corman Dies at 87

by on December 08, 2019 11:29 AM

J. Doyle Corman Jr., who served Centre County and the 34th District in the Pennsylvania Senate for 21 years, has died. He was 87.

The Bellefonte resident "died peacefully at home surrounded by his family," his son and successor in the Senate, Majority Leader Jake Corman, said in a statement on Sunday morning.

"Dad always remained grateful for the privilege to serve the people of Central Pennsylvania as their state senator for more than 20 years," Jake Corman said. "He was a man of deep conviction whose devotion to making our community a better place guided his life and career."

Doyle Corman represented the 34th district in the state Senate from 1977, when he won a special election, until his retirement at the end of 1998. Once called "The Godfather of the Centre County GOP" by Politics PA, he became an influential figure in the state Republican party as well.

As a senator, his work was wide-ranging and he was a champion for funding of higher education, including his district's Penn State, and transportation, helping to usher in improvements that made Centre County more accessible. Corman served on the Senate transportation committee for more than a decade and a portion of Route 322 in Centre and Mifflin counties is named in his honor.

"Doyle was an important voice in the state Senate for many years and was a wonderful partner to our administration in the mid-90s when we first came to Harrisburg," former Gov. Tom Ridge said in a statement. "He showed particular leadership in helping to advance critical transportation legislation that is a hallmark of his distinguished legislative career. But even more important than being a faithful and honorable public servant, Doyle was a proud family man who always put family first."

After serving in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, Corman earned a degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He had a career in real estate and insurance before he was elected as a Centre County commissioner in 1968, a role he held until his election to the Senate in 1977.

Corman and his wife, Becky, had five children, and Jake Corman said family was the most important part of his father's life.

"Dad was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather first and a Senator second," Jake Corman said. "There are no other titles in which he took greater pride. While in the coming days, many will remember him for his service to this Commonwealth, Dad’s lasting legacy is the example by which he lived, his expectations of us and the love he had for Mom and all of us.”

State Sen. Joe Scarnati, president pro tempore of the Senate, was among those to quickly offer praise for Doyle Corman.

"Senator Doyle Corman was one of the finest public servants our state has ever seen," Scarnati said in a statement. "His legacy will live on through his family, in his community and across our Commonwealth. Amy and I extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Corman Family during this sad time."

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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