CoraLynn “Corky” Malmberg
Feb. 1, 1954 – July 4, 2019
CoraLynn Ruth (Fosler) Malmberg was born to Harry Dale Fosler and Marian Margaret (Ramsay) Fosler on Feb. 1, 1954, at Seward Memorial Hospital. At just 2 days old, she earned the name “Corky” after her mother’s roommate called her a “corker” for crawling out of her shirt multiple times. (A corker is defined as “an excellent or astonishing person or thing.”) Her dad found it fitting and started calling her Corky. It turned out to be a nickname she epitomized her entire life.
Corky passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on July 4, 2019. She wrapped up a life well lived, filled with faith, love, gratitude and a touch of humor.
The middle of five siblings, Corky grew up on the family farm near Milford. She was baptized in the Seward United Methodist Church—a church she rejoined in the fall of 2018 upon moving back to the family homestead.
She loved life on the farm and spent hours upon hours playing with her siblings and cousins, helping her grandparents and exploring as she developed her keen curiosity at an early age. She also cultivated her witty sense of humor and feistiness in her younger years. In fact, she was the only child in her household who could eat cherry pie or cookies for breakfast because she refused to eat anything else.
Corky was active in 4-H and her church. She spent her teen years cooking at “the station,” driving around with friends and pretending she was practicing the organ for church.
She graduated from Seward High School in 1972 and was a proud member of the Traveling ‘72ers for years afterward. She went on to receive a duel degree in elementary education and human development in the family from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. From there she accepted her first teaching job in Pender and never looked back. She was proud to be a third-generation teacher and to have a son who carried on her love for teaching.
For the next 34 years, she spent her days inspiring kids to imagine beyond their surroundings, to dream bigger and to live fuller. As a fifth grade teacher—and fifth and sixth grade science teacher—for most of her career, she said that grade always suited her because it was about her maturity level.
In 1987, she received her master’s degree in education from Wayne State College. She would go on to become an adjunct faculty member at the college while juggling her full-time teaching role at Pender Public Schools and raising two young children. She received the 2005 Outstanding Alumna award from the Wayne State College School of Education and Counseling.
Corky taught with her whole heart and often outside the typical standards, using her creativity and imagination to propel her students on adventures in learning that would stay with them for a lifetime. From transforming her classroom into a rainforest to building and shooting off rockets, she didn’t see any limits to the depths of learning. In addition to teaching, she was instrumental in creating the High Ability Learners program, founded and coached Pender’s cross country team for several years, led quilting and sewing clubs and accompanied countless choir concerts and school musicals.
One of Corky’s proudest achievements was helping Pender Public Schools become selected as the only NASA Explorer School in Nebraska. She used NASA curriculum for several years, and in addition to attending NASA workshops and experiencing weightlessness on a special flight on NASA’s Vomit Comet, she led multiple groups of students to Space Camp.
Corky was an active member of the United Church of Pender, serving multiple stints on the council, playing organ and accompanying the choir, leading the bell choir, participating in the United Women’s Group, leading youth group and Bible studies, teaching Sunday school and regularly finding another mission project for the church to tackle.
Throughout her 42 years in Pender, she served in many capacities to better the community including being an active PEO sister and serving as a board member of the Main Street Thriftique, Village of Pender, Pender Community Library and Pender-Thurston Education and Community Foundation Fund. She was recognized as a “hometown hero” by Sioux City NBC affiliate KMEG in 2010 and was the 2011 Pender Volunteer of the Year for her steadfast commitment to her community.
There were no limits to her generosity, as evidenced by her tutoring people who were pursuing their GEDs, making hundreds of T-shirt and baby quilts, supporting dozens of nonprofit organizations, calling on those who needed a friend and sending thoughtful cards or care packages to anyone who needed uplifted.
Corky met Charlie Malmberg in Pender in 1977. They were married at Seward Methodist Church on May 27, 1978, and celebrated 40 years of marriage last year. They had two children, Julie Ann and Samuel James, who made them proud beyond measure. The family of four had it all, and her children cannot imagine a better childhood. Corky often took her kids on adventures even when finances were tight because she wanted them to see the world and the people she knew would inspire them for a lifetime. She was the best Mom—the perfect combination of teacher and cheerleader, champion and confidante.
After Charlie passed away in the summer of 2018, Corky moved back to where her story began—to the Fosler homestead near Milford. She spent her final months quilting, checking off things from her bucket list, remaining steadfast in her faith, spending time with those she loved most and spreading love, joy and a touch of humor.
Corky is survived by her two children, Julie (Andy) Grawe and Samuel “Sammy” (Jennifer) Malmberg; her sister, Susan, and brother bear, E.V. Walsh; brothers, Steve (Mark) Fosler and Clark (Julie) Fosler; sister-in-law, Linda Fosler; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, countless friends and hundreds of former students.
Corky was preceded in death by her husband, Charlie; parents, Dale and Marian; and brother, Carl.
In lieu of flowers, Corky requested that memorials be made to the Seward United Methodist Church Foundation and the Pender-Thurston Education and Community Foundation Fund.
A remembrance book will be available for signing from 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 19, 2019, at Zabka-Perdue Funeral Home in Seward. A celebration of life service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 20, at the Seward United Methodist Church. A private family inurnment and graveside service will be in Pender. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.zabkafuneralhome.com.