Obituary and Eulogy for
Jorge “Corky” Luis Figueroa
Born: August 27th, 1968 – Passed: December 30th, 2020 (Age 52)
It is with the greatest sympathy and sorrow the Figueroa family informs that, on Wednesday, December 30th, 2020, our beloved son, brother and friend, Jorge Luis Figueroa, more affectionately known as “Corky,” succumbed to the COVID-19 virus, in Mesa, Arizona. Corky Figueroa fought the virus bravely for 49 days while in the hospital. He is survived by his father and mother, Frank C. and Naomi Figueroa; his brothers and sister-in-law, Francisco “Chico” Figueroa, Marco Figueroa, Fernando and Liana Figueroa, and Adrian Figueroa; and his nieces and nephews, Emilio Figueroa, Gabriella Figueroa, Alejandro Figueroa, Abigail Figueroa, Victoria Figueroa, AnnaMia Figueroa, and Nick and Isaac Martinez. May Jorge “Corky” Luis Figueroa rest in peace in God’s Paradise.
I am so grateful to have the highest honor to speak for my family and tell you how our son, brother and friend, Jorge Luis Figueroa lived his life. More affectionately known as “Corky,” he is gone from us far too soon. We are selfish and would rather keep our loved ones close. We want them to be here on earth with us forever, but that can never be so. Life will always happen, and we always must find the way to persevere. Those we love and cherish are never really gone. That is how Corky lived his life.
Corky was born in Douglas, Arizona, on August 27th, 1968. He was born almost three months premature and only weighed 2.6 pounds. Already with that strike against him, he was also born partially deaf and blind. Corky knew how to fight for life from the day he was born. His parents, Frank C. and Naomi Figueroa, pulled together as many resources as they could muster to ensure Corky’s health and livelihood. Mom and Dad found the best school for this purpose, The Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind. Even when several doctors diagnosed Corky as having heavy mentally challenging issues and not being able to carry on any productive life, he would prove us all wrong. At ASDB, Corky showed focus, determination, and, the will to grow and move forward. He wanted to be better. Being sibling number three of five boys, Corky also found inclusion with his brothers. In other words, he was always surrounded with love, support and a little bit of brotherly trouble.
ASDB taught Corky to communicate with sign language and see more with what little vision he had. He learned there were other people just like him and that he could be more in life. Corky was not only a normal young man, he was exceptionally special. He taught us so much more. He taught us, his family, sign language. So now, we not only spoke English and Spanish, we could communicate with him and his friends as well. He wanted more from us and we wanted to be more for him. It was difficult to leave Corky at ASBD, but we knew it was the best for him. He would live at school during the week and come home on the weekends. It was a good life experience for all of us.
This was important to us and to him. Corky wanted more and he wanted the same for everyone. He taught us resilience and fortitude. He did as much as he could with what he had. The strongest part of him was his heart. He had enough love, hope, kindness for the whole world. Those who knew him loved, respected and appreciated him. Corky was one of the most dedicated and loyal people one could ever know. He had a high degree of integrity and was direct about it. There was a time when his brothers teased him about stealing a saltshaker from McDonalds. We did, and he made us drive all the way back to return it. We were just kids and I had just barely started driving at the time.
Corky was a master of sports statistics. Especially football and basketball; both college and professional sports. He could remember names, dates and scores of so many games it was staggering and uncanny. The University of Arizona men’s basketball was always his favorite. I’ll never forget the day I was able to introduce him to Steve Kerr. Steve was so kind and patient with Corky. They spent hours together playing basketball. He loved music. He loved movies. He loved several TV shows including The Incredible Hulk, CHIPs and The Flash. One night, our dad argued over TV with Corky. Dad wanted to watch something, but it was The Incredible Hulk night on TV. Dad removed the knob to prevent Corky from changing the channel, but to our extreme surprise, Corky had the creative ingenuity to grab a pair of pliers and change the channel back to The Hulk. Corky won that debate on determination alone. He was only 10 or 12 at the time. He had met the star of The Incredible Hulk, when Lou Ferrigno came to visit ASDB. Lou Ferrigno is also deaf and therefore an inspiration.
Like his brothers and friends, Corky wanted to be involved in scholastic team sports. Because of his vision disability, he was only able to be a team sports manager. Helping ASDB Athletics with logistics and equipment. He did try American Wrestling at ASDB but had to stop due to an eye injury that could worsen. Although disappointing, Corky knew this was for the best. He knew it was more important to keep what little sight he had. This was yet another lesson he taught us in resilience. He would continue to manage team sports for ASDB, and, he could always play sports with his brothers and friends under great care.
Corky never ceased to amaze us. When we were on a family vacation in San Diego, CA one summer, Corky surprised us when he showed he could ice skate. We were at the University Towne Center Mall, which had an ice rink. We couldn’t believe our eyes. He was special and outgoing. He was an inspiration.
After graduating from ASDB in 1988, Corky would attend a special vocational school for the deaf and blind in Sands Point, New York. He would learn how to take care of himself and be self-sufficient. He did very well. Upon returning home to Arizona in1989, Corky would start working with the Walgreens Corporation where his manager would nickname him “The Flash,” because he worked so quickly and efficiently. He spent almost 32 years at several locations as a full-time Walgreens Retail Employee.
Corky was married and moved to Ohio for a time but was later divorced and moved back home to Arizona.
When Corky became ill, he had to be hospitalized and sedated. It was a difficult time for him especially. Several of us, including Dad, became infected with this terrible virus. He spent 49 days in the hospital. Although in his last week, our Mother became ill herself and had to be hospitalized again. Mom is home now and convalescing. She was able to get the hospital to put her and Corky together in the same room. We, especially Mom and Dad, can have solace that Corky was able to spend a little more time with his Mother. In some way, I feel as if Corky took the brunt of it to spare the rest of us.
Corky will always be our Hero, our son, our brother, and our friend. We are grateful, honored and blessed to have been able to have spent the short time we had together. I don’t think there is any one of us that wouldn’t trade places with Corky, because that is our family. We shall miss him a lot. We will always keep him in our hearts, and we’ll find peace in letting him go. He is in God’s Paradise where he will never want or need. He can see, hear and do all those things we take for granted. Corky will always be smiling upon us. We will never forget how he lived his life. If you really know Corky, you will never forget his mannerisms, habits, his voice, his crazy and unusual noises. We’ll never forget his beautiful stubbornness, and how he dynamically watched sports on TV. We will always remember Corky for his wonderful uniqueness, his huge heart and his way of supporting you. He was quite perceptive and always the best of us.
We are so proud of him and will always love him so very much.
With great admiration,
The Family of Jorge “Corky” Luis Figueroa