“She was affectionately referred to as the Snow Lady. But after Coralyce Corky Calderone passed away Monday morning of apparent heart problems, those who knew her were in shock. They knew she was much more. Calderone, 62, spent more than two decades running the department of environmental health and occupational safety at the University of Akron.””
She was affectionately referred to as the Snow Lady.
But after Coralyce Corky Calderone passed away Monday morning of apparent heart problems, those who knew her were in shock. They knew she was much more.
Calderone, 62, spent more than two decades running the department of environmental health and occupational safety at the University of Akron. She was also the first female fire inspector in Ohio.
Doug Stevenson, the acting interim director, recalled how Calderone was a firefighter at a time when women were rarely seen in fire departments. Stevenson was on the job when Calderone came to UA in 1986. He said she had also been a foster parent and a telephone operator.
Paul Callahan, UA police chief and assistant vice president of campus safety, was Calderone’s supervisor.
All of us are surprised and saddened by losing Corky so suddenly, Callahan said. She was a long-time employee who was well-known and well-respected throughout the university.
We will miss her a lot, and our sympathy goes out to her family and many friends.
Staff members in Calderone’s department characterized the group as family.
Mark Beers, the emergency management coordinator, worked with Calderone while attending UA, and then took his position four years ago. He thought of Calderone as being more like a mother than a boss.
She didn’t just care about your work, he said, his voice breaking. She cared about your family.
He mentioned how Calderone would send out e-mails before Sweetest Day and Valentine’s Day to remind her staff to think about their loved ones. She always stressed the importance of family, Beers said.
He recalled how Calderone rushed to his bedside in the hospital the day he fell ill several years ago. She even approached the administration in the hopes of donating her sick time to Beers.
He looked away as he mentioned this, obviously pained.
Jason McNicholas, the radiation safety officer, joined Stevenson and Beers in reminiscing about Calderone, still in disbelief over her passing.
McNicholas recalled how Calderone’s first course of action was to take over hazardous waste disposal, which used to be handled by the chemistry department. Emergency management was her last project. But there was one constant throughout her career, he said.
The one thing Corky instilled in this office was teamwork. We all work together, McNicholas said.
Each of them spoke of her love of animals. If there was ever an animal on campus, Beers said, Calderone made sure it was taken care of.
When a hawk was found, she rescued it, even taking it to Canton for treatment. She once rescued a baby squirrel at Robertson’s Dining Hall. They chuckled as they recounted how she took the squirrel home, named it Frisky and raised it.
Calderone’s son told the Akron Beacon Journal that she hadn’t been feeling well, so he took her to Akron City Hospital early Monday morning. She died shortly after.
The family was mentioned in the paper just a few days ago, when the Beacon published a story about the funeral of Mike Calderone, Corky’s husband.
Mike Calderone passed away March 17. He had served as Green’s fire chief for 28 years before retiring.
When the Buchtelite contacted Corky Calderone in 2005 to interview her about fire safety, she jumped at the chance. Her passion and wealth of knowledge on the subject was evident as she discussed the issue to which she had devoted her life.
After a Center for Campus Fire Safety report ranked Ohio dead-last, she said the rating was not her concern. She only cared about keeping students safe.
If it’s one of my students, one is too many, she said at the time.
Beers nodded, recalling how much she cared about safety.
She cared about everyone’s safety, but she really cared about the university, he said.
Stevenson added, She was very passionate about this campus.
The men agreed that Calderone’s passion and dedication will make her difficult to replace. McNicholas said her commitment to her work and the campus was amazing.
Whenever she saw a need, she volunteered to get it done, he said.
Beers called Calderone the consummate teacher.
If you didn’t learn from her, he began to say, but then changed his mind.
You had no choice but to learn from Corky Calderone, Beers said.
The others nodded in agreement.
Stevenson and McNicholas then grabbed a foam bat hanging from the doorknob. If you didn’t learn something, they said, Calderone would use this to make sure you did.
It was obvious to her three closest colleagues that Calderone will be impossible to replace.