Virus can’t stop Mr. Corbitt’s 101st birthday

Jessie Corbitt, right, celebrates his latest birthday.
DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

On Wednesday afternoon, Jessie Corbitt, age 101, had a unique birthday celebration amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Corbitt was saluted with a drive-by motorcade from law enforcement which friends, family and loved ones also joined.

Law enforcement parade

The Daytona Beach Police Department and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office drove by in marked and unmarked cars honking horns, flashing lights, waving, saying “Happy birthday,” playing the birthday song and even having K-9 unit dogs barking.

Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood and DBPD Chief Craig Capri were both on hand. Capri delivered a gift on behalf of his department.

In great spirits

The birthday man was delighted by what he had seen. He was smiling, waving and in good spirits while sitting in a chair in his garage.

Mr. Corbitt told the Daytona Times, “I love it. It’s a surprise. Looked like the entire squad.”

Mr. Corbitt’s daughter-in-law, caregiver Marsha Corbitt, is often at his side. She came up with the innovative idea due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said, “We knew that we couldn’t do a normal party. We still wanted to celebrate with him. So we decided to do something different and came up with this so that he could enjoy his birthday.”

Age hasn’t slowed down her father-in-law. Mrs. Corbitt added, “He is an inspiration. He keeps us energized. He prays every day and works in his garden. He keeps going.”

Mr. Corbitt was excited and thankful for his family efforts.

A law enforcement motorcade drives by the home of Mr. Jessie Corbitt on Wednesday.

‘God sent someone’

“My daughter-in-law and granddaughter who are here beside me are the best people I know. God sent someone to take care of me. I love them. I am thankful for them. I do not have to worry,” he told the Daytona Times.

Mr. Corbitt also shares a birthday with his granddaughter Nika Corbitt, who unfortunately missed the motorcade drive-by salute to go get the cake.

“That’s just wonderful our birthday is on the same day,” chuckled Mr. Corbitt.

During the occasion, he even took the time to say a prayer for everyone who paid homage to him. Many of the neighbors came out and watched the motorcade and wished him well.

“God bless everyone who came out today and all those who participated,” he said.

Alabama native

Jessie Corbitt was born on May 5, 1919 in Abbeyville, Ala. He is a retired entrepreneur, cab driver, builder and construction worker.

He owned his own cab business, Lucky Star Cabs, which operated from 1946 to 1994. Corbitt worked on many structures in Daytona Beach.

Before coming to Daytona, Mr. Corbitt did construction in Pensacola and Alabama from 1942 to 1945, where he also worked at a saw mill.

Mr. Corbitt is a member of New St. James Missionary Baptist Church.

A friend to many

During his lifetime, he friended the likes of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Albert Bethune II, Dr. Oswald P Bronson, Dr. Rabbi J. Gainous, Herbert Thompson, Sr., Rufus “Buddy” Young, and many other notable local residents.

Mr. Corbitt saw Jackie Robinson break the color barrier in Daytona a year before he did it with the Brooklyn Dodgers in Major League Baseball.

Mr. Corbitt’s wife Catherine died in 2010. The couple raised five children and several grandchildren.

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