Serving Challis and Custer County, Idaho Since 1881. The Challis Messenger is published every Thursday.

William John Corrigan

William John Corrigan was born April 22, 1925 in Clyde, Idaho to Arthur and Myrtle Corrigan. He was born the second child of six. He and his brother Art went to school in a one-room schoolhouse for two years before his father started a job in Arco. Art worked for a man known only as Dunk.

When business slacked off, the Corrigan family relocated to a two-room slab board house close to Mackay, Idaho. Here the family hired out to feed a herd of cattle for the winter. It was two miles to the school so their dad built a sleigh to be pulled behind a saddle horse. On top of the sleigh, they built a house that also had a small wood stove so they could ride to school in comfort and warmth. The only guy who suffered was their dad on the saddle horse out in the cold.

It wasn’t long before they moved to Clayton where John graduated from the eighth grade with perfect attendance. His formal education stopped there because the family needed him to work for wages. He did odd jobs at the mine and was available, as a hired man, for the East Fork ranches. He did this until he enlisted in the service.

John wasn’t old enough to join the service when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, but he went ahead and enlisted early because he wanted to choose the branch where he would serve. He chose the Navy and did his basic training at Farragut in northern Idaho. After basic, he was assigned to serve as a torpedo-man on the USS Franks. He served all three years of service on this ship. John’s ship was involved in many battles in the South Pacific. His fleet was heading to Japan to attack from the sea when the first atomic bomb was dropped. The crew could see the mushroom from their ship. John was able to come home on leave once during the war. The town held a welcome home celebration dance for this return in honor of John and Morgan Williams.

At this celebration he met a young woman who was part of the band and they corresponded for the remainder of the war. This young woman was Betty Mae Bishop. They were married August 2, 1947 at the Bishop ranch. To this union five children were born: Pat Bricker, Pam Landon, Tim Corrigan, John Corrigan and Betty Jo Oja.

The next stage of John’s life was consumed with the day-to-day activities of raising kids and running a ranch. John and the family enjoyed fishing, camping, picnics and other activities including square-dancing on horseback as well as on his own two feet. Bowling leagues and card clubs were also a constant in John and Betty’s life. He was a servant and valued member of the community. Together John and Betty were involved in many fundraisers, charity events and benefits.

Their home was a place where, for close to 40 years, many children came to reside for one reason or another. The only thing that John and Betty required of these “adopted” children was: the respect of their home and everyone needed to pull their weight.

There were times when John had to seek work off the ranch. He and his brother Art went into the long hauling trucking business for many years. During this time they hauled gun barrels from the armory in Pocatello to Virginia or to New York for test firing and then back to Pocatello. John was able to take his family with him on several trips and the kids were able to see a lot of the United States.

As time went by, John remained a partner in the ranching business but he also started Corrigan Trucking and Hoe, an excavation and dirt works company. Together John and his lifelong partner Betty had many years and adventures working for people in the area. His favorite answer to any question suggesting slowing down or retiring was, “We ain’t done yet.” John was fortunate enough to operate his business until very recently when illness forced him to retire.

John passed away Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 88 years of age. He leaves behind many family members and friends who will miss him, but are privileged and blessed for having him in their life.

He was preceded in death by his parents, all five siblings and his daughter Pam.

Left to mourn are his beloved wife Betty Mae Corrigan, his daughters Pat (Ron) Bricker, Betty Jo (Levi) Oja; sons Tim (Zelda) Corrigan, John (Martha) Corrigan; and multiple grandkids, great- grandkids and great-great-grandkids.

Funeral services were held Saturday, March 15, 2014, at the Challis Community Church UCC, with burial in the Challis Cemetery. Military Honors were provided by the American Legion Phillip Kirk Post #109 and the Idaho Honor Guard.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Jones & Casey Funeral Home of Challis, Idaho.

Comment on this story

Please read our Usage Policy, here.

Monday March 24, 2014 12:31 pm

John was the head of a family that have been friends with mine for my whole life. There was and has not been a better man than John. He would give you the shirt off his back and help you anytime you needed it. His hardy laugh still rings in my ears and Betty was his soul mate with the same characteristics. My Mom and Betty went to school together and my Dad and John ranched together and both worked in similar lines of work. I remember all the fun our families had together and I still laugh when I think about seeing John and my Dad up on stage at school for the town talent show with large top hats that Betty made pulled down over their head and shoulders and lips painted on around their belly buttons. The music played and they both whistled with their bellies pumping in and out. What Dads won't do when coerced by their families. John will be missed but not forgotten and I feel good knowing he is in a better place without the pain and suffering. Sleep comfortably my friend, you deserve a rest!!!
Steve Holland

-- oldsnut

The Challis Phone Book

The Local Phone Book


Use our online order form to start your subscription today!

Contact Congress
The Challis Messenger • P.O. Box 405 • Challis, Idaho 83226
Telephone 208.879.4445 • Fax 208.879.5276 • E-mail:

Copyright © 2001-2014 Post Company. All rights reserved.