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Volunteer Corkey Jay noted for her energy, compassion

Delma L. "Corkey" Jay, 77, whose volunteer efforts and activities earned her a spot in the Senior Hall of Fame of the St. Petersburg Commission on Aging, died Saturday (April 25, 1998) at home.

Mrs. Jay, who was founder and president of the Community Camping Council Inc., an organization that provides camping opportunities for disadvantaged children, battled cancer for more than a year.

She was active with the Girl Scouts of America for more than 60 years and received their Women of Distinction Award in 1997.

She was active with the Women's Service League, Infinity, Interlock, Phi Mu Fraternity and the Women's Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Advisory Council of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

A YWCA board member, she was awarded the Virginia H. Lazzara Service Award in 1993, which honors women in the community who have taken leadership roles in human services.

She retired in 1988 as coordinator of the Volunteers Service Center after 20 years as a social worker with the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, now the Department of Children and Families.

Mrs. Jay was instrumental in obtaining more than 19,000 hours of volunteer services and in excess of $150,000 in 1980, for which she was honored by then-Gov. Bob Graham for performance exceeding normal expectations.

For 29 years she recruited thousands of volunteers to work at the Christmas Toy Shop, first through her work at HRS and later as a volunteer.

A member of the Senior Hall of Fame since 1992, she was chosen for the top 10 out of 150 members at a special celebration of the commission's silver anniversary in 1997.

"She had such enormous energy and compassion for people, she was truly a role model for all of us," said Gerald Buchert, director of the city of St. Petersburg Office on Aging for 21 years.

She came here in 1953 from her native Middletown, Ohio, where, according to a 1992 Times interview, her parents and her childhood experiences with organizations such as the Girl Scouts shaped her passion for volunteerism.

She was a graduate of Ohio State University and was Methodist.

Survivors include her husband of 54 years, William; two daughters, Linda Farmer, Webster, and Peggy Pappas, Miami; a brother, Thomas E. Coddington, St. Petersburg; and seven grandchildren.

Friends may call from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Anderson-McQueen Funeral Homes & Cremation Tribute Center-Ninth Street Chapel, St. Petersburg. A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, also at the funeral home. Entombment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family suggests donations to the Community Camping Council in care of the YWCA of Tampa Bay, 655 Second Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.