Cover photo for Donald R. Cornell's Obituary
Donald R. Cornell Profile Photo
1943 Donald 2020

Donald R. Cornell

January 21, 1943 — April 2, 2020

Donny Cornell: Tribute in Seven Verses 
Donny Cornell had Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: COPD.
But he made the best of it, lived with it.
He showed up for life.
He owned the kitchen at Sunnybreeze.
That was his space.  He closed the cupboard doors.
He punched the ticket of all who entered there.
Perched on his stool, at the counter, every Tuesday morning, during Coffee Hour. 

Donny Cornell fished a lot and well.
Took others along.
Packed lunch.
Taught others what he knew.
And usually caught the “big ones.” 

Donny Cornell loved Sandy Cornell.
He sometimes fussed at her.
She sometimes fussed back.
That’s how good marriages work.
Donny and Sandy had a good marriage. 

Donny Cornell’s COPD worsened.
He was hospitalized.
He didn’t want to go.
But had to, finally, oxygen levels dropping.
His condition worsened.
Sandy got the call, ominous: come now!
Asked me to come along. 

After seven miles of fast hallways, Sandy Cornell found Donny Cornell.
Donny reached for Sandy’s hand.
Sandy reached for his.
Hard message from a kind nurse, Connie:
“Without oxygen he will last only minutes, not hours, minutes.”
For a long time, Donny and Sandy thought about that, absorbed it, discussed it.
And arrived at a decision: Time to let go.  Time for Donny to go Home. 

Donny Cornell was given meds for his pain and to calm him.
The hermetic, restrictive mask was removed.
As Donny settled, the real Donny appeared, one more time.
He smiled again.
Donny to Sandy: “I love you.”
Sandy to Donny: “I love you, too.”
To me: instructions on flipping pancakes, “You can tell when . . . ” 

Donny Cornell’s breathing became less labored.
He became more peaceful.
He became less agitated.
He relaxed his grip on life.
Sandy and I: quoted Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer.
There was a long breath, a pause, another breath, long pause, final breath.
Then Donny Cornell exited this world: absent from his body; present with God.
–Ruben Chupp, April 4, 2020

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