Jewelry Industry Veteran and Retailer Robert Corey Dies

IndependentsMar 15, 2018

Jewelry Industry Veteran and Retailer Robert Corey Dies

He founded Robert’s Jewelry Store with his wife in Madawaska, Maine in 1955.  

Robert Corey, founder of Robert’s Jewelry Store in Maine, died Feb. 11 at the age of 90. He’s pictured here at his grandson, Joe Corey’s, wedding in 2014.
Waterville, Maine--Robert Corey, who founded Robert’s Jewelry Store with his wife, died Feb. 11 in Fort Kent, Maine. He was 90 years old.

 Corey and his wife, Enid, started Robert’s Jewelry Store in Madawaska, Maine in 1955. The store is currently owned and operated by his son, Robert. Corey also was the father of Jeff and Jim Corey, the current owners of Day’s Jewelers, a seven-store chain in Maine and New Hampshire.

 Corey started his life-long career in the jewelry business at the age of 11, working for Day’s Jewelers when it was owned by the Davidson family in Portland, Maine.

 He enlisted in the Marine Corps. at the age of 17 and served as a military policeman stationed in Japan after World War II.

 After he finished his military service, Corey returned to Portland and at the age of 19 was put in charge of opening and managing a Day’s Jewelers in Caribou, Maine. It was one of 22 Day’s stores located in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont at the time. (In 1988 his sons Jeff and Jim and Jeff’s wife Kathy purchased Day’s Jewelers.)

It was there he met his future wife, Enid Marie Sleeper, and the two were married in 1950. 

In 1955, the two moved to Madawaska, where they opened Robert’s Jewelry Store. 

This presented an interesting challenge for the couple given that, at the time, French was the predominant language in northern Main and the two spoke only English. But it was often said, according to Corey’s family and friends, that he “possessed a magical quality of being able to communicate with his eyes.”

Robert and Enid raised their seven children in Madawaska, where the family grew up working together in the jewelry store.

Corey loved to spend time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at their summer home on Long Lake in Sinclair, Maine. He also loved his hunting trips with friends as well as his final trip to the Arctic with his sons and grandsons. 

Corey was a devout Catholic “who was very much in touch with his heart,” his family said, and often sang and recited poetry.

He will be missed for his wit and humor, and for his ability to always find goodness and kindness in life and in people, they added.  

He also was passionate about the industry and how jewelry symbolized special moments in life.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Enid Marie, and their seven children: Jeff and his wife, Kathy; Jolene and her husband, James Cleland; Jean and her husband, David Foster; Jayne Johnston; Robert and his wife, Sylvie; James and his fiancée, Amy Schmidt; Anne and her husband, Douglas Cyr; as well as 14 grandchildren.

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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