Richard’s dad, Henry “Hank” Corbus worked in lead and zinc mines in Eastern Oklahoma near Pitcher. His job was to fill cans with a shovel, each holding 1650 pounds, for which he received 10 cents per can. He could fill 100 cans a day. During World War II, Hank started the Corbus Spring Shop in Miami, OK. Richard’s mother, May Corbus, worked alongside Hank in the machine shop and was publicized as a “Lady Blacksmith.”
Hank had a special gift of being able to visualize how something works and then build it. Richard grew up working in the machine shop where he learned to be a machinist and welder. Over the years, their machine shop produced go-carts for Montgomery Ward, automobile parts for BF Goodrich, and various parts for several manufacturing firms.