STEUBENVILLE – After a long career on the bench, Joseph Corabi passed the torch to Frank Noble last week, swearing his successor in as Jefferson County’s new probate and juvenile court judge.
Following the ceremony, held inside the Jefferson County Justice Center, Corabi reflected on his career that spanned 30 years on the bench.
One phrase he used, however, seemed to fit best.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said with a smile and a look of reflection.
That ride, which came to a close after Corabi decided to hang up the robe and not seek re-election this past year, spanned five terms as judge in Toronto county court before he was elected as the probate and juvenile judge in 2014. He followed the late Sam Kerr in that position.
“It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be a judge for just over 30 years. It’s been a very rewarding experience. I have so many people that I need to thank that I could fill up five columns in the newspaper,” he said. “My parents, my siblings, my late wife Kathy, my children and their spouses, my grandchildren, so many friends and other extended family members that have played an integral part.
“Without my late wife Kathy, I would have never been able to do it.”
His stories and memories from more than three decades also could fill pages.
“I’m still in the process of understanding and processing what is going to no doubt be a big change,” he said. “Leaving the bench is bittersweet. I feel as though I made the right decision for the citizens of Jefferson County and for the court.”
Now, it’s his friend and former magistrate’s turn to build and experience his own.
“I know Judge (Frank) Noble well. I know the man that he is, the character that he has and the judicial ability that he has,” Corabi said. “That will make him an outstanding judge. I’m very confident in the job that he will do. I’m proud to turn the reins over to him.
“He is another person I certainly need to thank. He worked alongside of me, I felt like we were co-judges, it never felt like I was judge and he was magistrate, because I certainly got a lot of very good advice and counsel from him over the last six years.”
One more person he thanked, his long-time secretary Connie Coss, has been along for the ride since before Corabi became a judge.
“I could have never achieved or completed anything I’ve accomplished without her,” said. “She’s been the most awesome secretary and the best friend anyone could ever ask for.”
Though his time as judge has come to a close, he said his service to the county is not done, voicing an interest in serving on volunteer boards, continuing to teach and perhaps even continuing a 43-year law career and going back to a limited practice.
He also said Noble asked him to be a part-time magistrate for the court.
“I’ll still be active, but it’ll definitely be a change,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll have a lot more personal time to do things, like visit grandchildren and children, that have been particularly hard to do while working as a judge.”