William S. “Bill” Corkish

William Corkish

On Thursday, January 23, 2020, William S. “Bill” Corkish passed away at the age of 90 after a short illness.

Bill was born on November 19, 1929 in Rochester, New York, the eighth of 11 children. From a young age, he was raised by foster parents, Alice and Elmer Leisten, in Webster, New York. Bill attended Webster High School and continued on to receive a B.A. degree from Capital University in 1951, followed by a Masters in Divinity from Evangelical Lutheran Seminary in 1955.

Bill married his best friend and loving partner of 62 years, Sue Ann (Osterman), on April 28, 1957. Together they raised three sons, Paul, Tim and Mark, and one foster daughter, Debbie.

After graduating from seminary, Bill began his pastorate at Grace Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1958, he founded Peace Lutheran Church in Ferndale, Maryland. Bill and his family then moved to Georgia, where he was founding pastor of Rock of Ages Lutheran Church in Stone Mountain. By the time Pastor Bill retired in 1992, Rock of Ages had grown to more than 1000 baptized members. In addition to his pastorates, Bill also served the church as vice president of the Eastern District and chairperson of the Executive Committee and District Council of the Southeastern District of the former American Lutheran Church, and co-chairperson of the Structure Task Force of the transition team for the new Southeastern Synod of the ELC. In addition, he served on the boards of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio and Southern Lutheran Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and helped start the Lutheran Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. After retiring from fulltime ministry, Bill was mission developer of Hope Lutheran Church in Ellijay, Georgia and active at Hope Lutheran Church and St. George Episcopal Church in The Villages.

Bill is survived by his wife, Sue Ann; sons, Paul and Mark; granddaughter, Morgan; brothers, Larry and Bob Leisten; and other family and friends. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Alice and Elmer Leisten; son, Tim; and foster daughter, Debbie.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at St. George Episcopal Church in The Villages. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill’s honor to St. George Episcopal Church, 1250 Paige Place, The Villages, Florida 32159.