Friday, March 27, 2015

Bob Cornell: There wasn’t a plane he couldn’t fly

Bob Cornell

We lost our cowboy Bob on March 19th, 2015 to lymphoma. Bob Cornell was a man’s man, who was blessed with five daughters; however, along with the daughters, it was the sons and grandchildren he acquired through those marriages that made his world complete. His family was his pride and joy. He went out with a valiant fight, spending his final weeks driving “Hannah’s Hoe” to clear some space in his beloved apple orchard, preparing for a new barn. 

There wasn’t a hat that didn’t fit, from Captain’s to Cowboy’s. There wasn’t a plane he couldn’t fly, a horse he couldn’t ride, a boat he couldn’t sail, or a tractor he couldn’t fix with a few colorful words and some duct tape.

He gave his children and grandchildren his love for the outdoors, spending family time in the Trinity Alps at his beloved Mountain Meadow Ranch. He developed lifelong friends at the ranch and his antics became legendary up and down Coffee Creek Rd.

He made life-long friends from high school, college, flying, farming, and in and around all towns. As his good friend Jeff Toothaker said, “He made a friend wherever he went.” The stories heard over the years will forever be in our memories. His intense presence in our lives will be profoundly missed; however, he gave us wings - may we fly as high and as brightly as he did.

Bob Cornell was born on November 24th, 1940 in Bishop, Ca to Wilton and Hazel Cornell. He grew up in Bishop and graduated from Bishop High School in 1958. Bob attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and earned a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1964 he was hired by United Airlines and started his career in aviation. He enjoyed flying professionally for 37 years, retiring in 2000, but continued flying general aviation, out of both Bishop and Watsonville, before, during, and long after his professional career ended. 

He was part of the Retired United Pilots Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Thee Club Club, and the Quiet Birdmen. A recent hobby he took on was motorcycle riding. He loved to take road trips “with the boys,” as he would say.

Bob passed peacefully at his home in Aptos surrounded by family and his good friend Jeff Toothaker. 

Bob was preceded in death by his Grandparents, Bessie and Elworth Taylor and Marie and Herman Cornell. He was also preceded in death by his father Wilton Cornell. 

Bob Cornell is survived by his beloved wife Hannah Cornell, his sister Marjorie Schaefer, his mother Hazel (Taylor) Cornell, and five daughters, Susan Cornell, Marjorie Duffner, Jennifer Ward, Kirsten Bula, and Bobbi Cornell. Bob Cornell is also survived by his six Grandchildren, RJ Duffner, Taylor Duffner, Mackenzie Duffner, Jackson Ward, Gabriella Ward, and Grace Bula. He is also survived by his Aunt Betty Nikolaus, and cousins Dennis Nikolaus, and Kris Nelson.

Bob is also survived by his son-in-laws, whom he considered his own, Dirk Duffner, Brent Ward, Brendon Bula, and future son-in-law Brent Colasurdo.

The family would like to thank all the people who supported us during our Dad’s battle with cancer. We feel so fortunate that so many helped him fight the fight. We would like to thank all of the doctors who cared for Bob, especially Dr. Karen Harrington, Dr. Wu and nurse practitioner Kellye Campos, for never giving up hope. 

A celebration of Bob’s life is planned on Saturday, April 25th 2015 beginning at 3:00 the Benito and Azzaro Pacific Garden Chapel, 1050 Cayuga St. Santa Cruz, Ca 95062, to be followed by a reception at the Cornell family home in Aptos. Bob Cornell will be laid to rest in Bishop, Ca.

In lieu of flowers contributions can be sent to The Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box. 4072 Pittsfield, Ma. 01202, or your local Hospice organization.


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