Carol Jean Cornell, 87, of St. Johns, Mich., died Nov. 17, 2021, at home with her family.
She was born Feb. 7, 1934, in St. Johns, the daughter of Arthur and Beatrice (Rowe) Munro. She married Keith Harvey Cornell in 1955 and he preceded her in death Dec. 1, 2002.
Carol was a graduate of St. Johns High School. She had a strong nurturing side, showing it in her position as a teacher’s aide at St. Johns High School and also as a nurse’s aide at Clinton Memorial Hospital and Hazel Finley Care Facility. Carol was active in her Lutheran church by attending the weekly Ladies Bible Study. She felt so fortunate to have a new group of wonderful friends of her age.
Carol loved people and loved her Lord. She participated in the Owosso Christian Singles group for many years. She was private about her faith in younger years, but she and Keith raised their children in the Episcopal Church. It was her strong faith and family that enabled Carol to survive the devastating loss of her son, Mark, last year.
Carol wanted her children to be the best they could be, and gave all she could to them. She was generous of her time with her children and their friends. She shared her talent for having fun by playing games with them, teaching them to cook, and creating scavenger hunts. Carol provided her children with opportunities to explore their own passions, such as music, writing, painting and sculpting. Carol would join her family in sledding during snowy winter days on Crow Mountain despite her well known dislike of cold weather. Family members recall her baking hundreds of Christmas cookies for her children, grandchildren and their friends to decorate.
Carol loved entertaining for family gatherings and traveling with her husband. They visited their daughters, Connie and Suzy in Texas many winters. Their husbands, Kirk and Pat, chauffeured them all to rodeos, concerts and musicals. They explored caves, went on abundant bluebonnet wildflower road trips, and dined out with gusto. Carol’s son, Keith, and his wife, Michelle, lived nearby. Carol was tickled by the energy of their young children and enjoyed their birthday celebrations. Michelle and Keith were both kind caregivers for Carol during her later years.
Carol and her lifetime friend, Marlene, shared many creative endeavors. They designed clothing and decorated for family graduations and weddings, and spent many joyful times together redecorating Carol’s home.
Carol said that she loved beautiful things, nature, birds and especially flowers. She was a classy lady. She took pleasure in dressing up sharp with all the accessories, and making people smile with her unique and surprising wit. Shopping with her daughters and granddaughters was a special treat for Carol. She liked to keep up with fashion they had no trouble convincing her to buy a pair of blue jeans with sparkles on her back pockets.
Carol was feisty and determined. She enjoyed getting out and experiencing it all. She really loved to live life to the fullest. Carol could become frustrated when her body wouldn’t do what she wished, but she was not one to complain about her pain and illnesses. She taught her family to revel in the simple things in life, such as spending quiet time with family. She fostered a competitive spirit in her children during games of Monopoly, Clue and card games. Her recipe for soothing them from a troubled day was ice cream or chocolate cake or both. Some of her many enjoyments included swimming and floating on the lake, reading, gardening, playing cards, a summer bonfire and campouts. Carol made people laugh with stories of her life adventures. She was a talented writer and artist.
Carol is survived by her children, Constance E. (and Kirk) Deatrick, Suzanne K. (and Patrick) Palmer and Keith M. (and Michelle) Cornell; her grandchildren Shelly (and Jeff) Neifert, Kelly (and Irl) Lutz, Heather (and Justin) Eldridge, Mark A. Cornell, Keith F. Cornell and Matthew Cornell; and her great-grandchildren Lyndon Lutz, Aidan Lutz, Brendan Eldridge, Mallori Eldridge, Kadrian Neifert and Riley Cornell.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her eldest son Mark Douglas Cornell; her parents; and siblings June, Phyllis, Bruce and Kay.
A memorial service is planned at noon Dec. 11 at St. John's Lutheran Church. Visitation is scheduled from 11 a.m. until the time of the service. Luncheon and rememberances are planned from 1 to 2:30 p.m. followed by a celebration of life and sharing of memories from 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Memorial contributions are suggested to Carol’s family for final expenses.