Francis P. Corbett, 73, a 23-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department and a retired Nether Providence Township police chief, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Dec. 10 at his home in Horsham.

Mr. Corbett grew up in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia and graduated from Northeast Catholic High School. He served in the Marine Corps Reserve, and for several years he worked in produce departments in Penn Fruit supermarkets before joining the Philadelphia Police Department in 1960. Six years later he became a sergeant. He was a lieutenant in 1983 when he retired to lead the Nether Providence Police Department.

Mr. Corbett established a police cadet program for high school students. In exchange for school credits, students answered phones, did filing, and rode with officers in patrol cars. Mr. Corbett also initiated a Youth Aid Panels program, which offered juvenile offenders an opportunity to go before a civilian panel instead of to court. The panel heard cases involving minor crimes and gave offenders guidance and suggested community service or ways to repay victims.

"He loved Nether Providence and loved the people," said his daughter, Denine Anderson.

In December 1998, Mr. Corbett's wife of 30 years, Barbara A. Corbett, died. The next June, he had to retire as chief because of health problems.

Mr. Corbett moved from Nether Providence to Horsham to be with his daughter and started a career as a chauffeur. He had a car service for several years, driving people to the airport, to New York City, or just on errands, his daughter said.

Mr. Corbett enjoyed fishing, family vacations on Long Beach Island, and American history, especially military history. He also was a football fan. "You didn't bother him on Sundays," his daughter said.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Corbett is survived by sons Charles, Tim, and Jerry; three brothers; a sister; 11 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. today at Schneider Funeral Home, 431 N. York Rd., Hatboro. A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Joseph Church, Easton and County Line Roads, Warrington. Burial will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.