Cover photo for Michael Corriston's Obituary
Michael Corriston Profile Photo
1944 Michael 2021

Michael Corriston

April 24, 1944 — January 7, 2021

Totz, KY

Professor Michael Steven Corriston, Totz, KY passed away on January 7, 2021, at University of Louisville Hosporous facility, Louisville, Kentucky.  Mr. Corriston was born April 24, 1944, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Frank and Mildred Corriston.  He is preceded in death by his parents, infant brother, Richard, and sister, Patricia, all of Kansas City, Kansas.

Mr. Corriston is survived by his wife of 24 years, Dianne Pollitte Corriston, Totz, KY; three children:  Michele Corriston, Houston, TX; Kristi Bomar and husband, Jesse, Navasota, TX; and Steven Michael Corriston and wife, Stephanie, Spring, TX.  Also surviving are three step-children:  Bryan Hensley and wife, Elizabeth, Harlan, KY; Christopher Hensley, Benham, KY; and Timothy Hensley and wife, Tabatha, Nicholasville, KY.  Mr. and Mrs. Corriston were also blessed with grandchildren:  Jessica Bomar, Spring, TX; Kelsey Hayes, Houston, TX; Christopher Bomar, Navasota, TX; Jensen, Jared and Scarlett Corriston, Spring, TX; Nicholas Hensley, Harlan, KY; Chris Owens, Berea, KY; Clara Elise and Silas Cole Hensley, Nicholasville, KY; and great-grandchildren:  Julian James Bomar, Navasota, TX; Abigail Ballard, Parrotsville, TN; Chesley and Cydney Owens, Richmond, KY.  Surviving also are a sister-in-law, Carol Fox, Baxter, KY and brother-in-law, Denver Pollitte and girlfriend, Becky Renick, Rio Vista, KY.

Mr. Corriston was a college professor all of his adult life, in the areas of Drama, Theatre Practicum, Basic Public Speaking, and Introduction to Interpersonal Communications.  He taught in colleges and universities in Missouri, Louisiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Texas for almost 50 years.  He came to Southeast Community College in Cumberland, KY to be the first Director and Supervisor of the newly opened arts building, the Appalachian Center.  He directed a great number of plays and productions in the Theatre, as well as creating the scenery, lighting and props for many more.  He was also the scenery production supervisor for most of the Higher Ground series of plays at the college.  When called upon, he also acted in some of the various productions, such as “Spoon River Anthology.”  He and his wife, Dianne, worked together in many productions, such as “The Belle of Amherst”, “Christmas Carol,” The Odd Couple” (the reverse edition )and “Steel Magnolias,” to name but a few.  Outside of the college productions, he acted in a national TV series production of “True Stories of the Highway Patrol,” a movie about Harlan County entitled “Stand Like A Mountain,” and a movie about the haunting of the Harlan County Courthouse entitled “The Manzo Shepherd Story.”

In the early years at the Appalachian Center he was also the curator of the Archives Department and Gallery.  In this capacity he became an active member of the Kentucky Museum Association, being a member of the Board for several years.  One of his proudest achievements was the acquisition of the collection of Primitive and Natural art created by the late Dr. James Golden, Pineville, KY.  Dr. Golden and wife, Betty, became long-time friends of the Corristons, and visited the Appalachian Center many times.

At the beginning of his second year of tenure, he was given the position of   Chairman of the SECC “Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin’.  This was a post he truly enjoyed and worked to improve year-round.  He held this position for 26 years. In the 50th Anniversary of the Festival he was named the “Swappin’ Meetin’ Honoree of the year.  He also became a member of the Kentucky Festival and Events Association, serving as Board member and President for many years.

In his role as scenery production supervisor, he became interested in doing more woodworking in the theatre scene shop.  His mentor there was Al Cornett, a skilled craftsman who worked for the college making wooden mountain dulcimers.  They also collaborated on most of the scenery and props needed for the theatre productions.  When Corriston attained a certain level of skill in the art, he and Mr. Cornett taught a class on Saturdays during the summer on the making of a dulcimer.  He also became quite proficient at woodworking of all kinds, including fashioning antique toy cars and trucks.

Another of his interests was especially Little League baseball.  While in Texas he coached several Little League and Pony-Colt teams to championships and was also a skilled umpire.  This was a talent he put to good use in the Tri-Cities in Harlan County for many years.

The community activity he enjoyed the most was the Lions Club, International.  He was a member of the Cumberland Lions Club for 24 years, serving as President for 16 years, as well as holding the position of Vice-District Governor and District Governor of District 43-C of Kentucky three times, and the President of the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation in Louisville.  He achieved many honors and accolades in the Lions and  these were:  A Fines E. Davis Fellow, A Melvin Jones Fellow, Cumberland Lions Club Man of the Year, Cumberland Lions Club Educator of the Year, Alben Barkley Distinguished Citizen Award, Duke of Paducah, Warren County “Good Ole’ Boy,” Honorary Harlan County Coal Miner and Duke of Hazard.

Mr. and Mrs. Corriston were married on December 28, 1996, by the Rev. Mr. Charles Morris.  As well as being a member of the Harlan Christian Church ,  Mr. Corriston was a member of the church board, a deacon and chairman of the deacons for several years,  and assisted in lighting and scenery for most of the church plays and programs during that time.

Visitation for Michael Steven Corriston will be held in the Harlan Christian Church, 130 S. 1st Street, Harlan, KY 40831 Saturday, January 16, 2021, from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, followed by the funeral service at 2:00.  The service will be conducted by Rev. Charles Morris and Rev. Chris Wheeler.  Burial will take place on Sunday, January 17, at the Olivet Methodist Church Cemetery, Mason Co., Kentucky.  There will be a “Celebration of Life” preceding the burial at the Olivet Methodist Church.

Flowers are welcome or donations may be made in his honor to the Ky. Lions Eye Foundation, the Cumberland Lions Club, or the Harlan Christian Church.

Covid-19 Restrictions of 50% of church capacity, face masks, and social distancing all set by the Governor of Kentucky shall be followed, the family ask that everyone attending please have a face covering on. Online service will be made available through Harlan Christian Church’s Facebook page for those who are unable to attend in person.

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Anderson-Laws & Jones Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of Michael Steven Corriston.

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