my step-grandfather passed away this week. He was apparently a much larger advocate for our style of life than I was aware. It is scary how much his earlier life mirrors my current life. The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press both chose to do stories:
Corbin Kidder was a transit advocate
The environmental activist and DFL Party worker was 'raised and bred on the idea that you give back.'
Corbin Sherwood Kidder, tireless St. Paul transit activist, Minnesota Senior Federation volunteer and DFL Party member, died Sunday of pneumonia at age 84.
Driven by a desire for social justice and a concern for the environment, Kidder served for more than 30 years on Metro Transit's advisory committee on transit.
In his view, cars "destroyed the fabric of this nation," said family friend Tess Galati.
He advocated for transit as a way to reconnect communities and was "an inveterate bus rider who insisted that public transit routes be included in all meeting notices and who refused to attend meetings not accessible by public transit," Galati said.
For friends with travel plans, his favorite Christmas gift was to work out a route for them on the transit system of the cities they would visit.
Also a rail enthusiast, Kidder was stationmaster at the Minnehaha Depot in Minnehaha Park from 1984 until his death and also served as a volunteer trolley operator for the Minnesota Transportation Museum.
At the Minnesota Senior Federation, he was chairman of the transportation committee, a trustee and member of the board, and he served as a Vista volunteer. Senior Federation executive director Lee Graczyk remembers Kidder as a well-mannered, well-spoken gentleman who "was raised and bred on the idea that you give back."
As a Vista volunteer he worked with seniors on health problems, everything from the cost of prescription drugs to how to sign up for Medicare, Graczyk said. "Every time there was a new set of bus schedules, he made sure that they got in our lobby and made available to seniors."
Kidder was born in Madison, Wis., and raised on New York City's Staten Island, where he and his brother, Pete, took the famous ferry into the city and rode the subway.
"That was their Saturday afternoon matinee sort of thing," said his wife, Ann Meissner. "They would consider themselves travelers of the world."
As adults, they would "one up each other on which new transit system they had been on and what they had thought about it," she said.
Kidder graduated from Penn State University and did graduate work in industrial psychology at the University of Minnesota. During his career, he worked for Federal Cartridge Corp. and Honeywell Inc., and retired as a customer quality audit instructor at Unisys in St. Paul in 1981.
Kidder was an active member of the DFL Party and of the DFL Feminist Caucus. His son Jonathan said Kidder once drove U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone to Duluth for a campaign stop.
Kidder was a good cook and taught his five children to make healthful food. He also enjoyed photography.
Besides his wife and son Jonathan, he is survived by sons Paul of Brattleboro, Vt., and Jonathan (Jj) of Carrboro, N.C.; daughters Debbie McCloud of Bogalusa, La., Faith Kidder and Ellie Kidder of Minneapolis, and stepchildren Edie and John Meissner.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, at 457 Mackubin St., St. Paul.