My name is John B. Cornell. I live in the California Central Valley in Fresno County. I enrolled as a Bahá'í youth in 1938 when 15. I wanted to enter a helping profession so went to dental school in San Francisco. I retired from dentistry so I can devote time to Bahá'í research and writing, but was talked into being editor for my dental society.
I serve as president of a small Kiwanis breakfast club where more than half the members are Bahá'ís. I started a local chapter of the United Nations Association, so am stuck as president of that also. I'm trying to do my homework to be able to give talks on the UN.
I wrote one article published by World Order, made a compilation on the National Convention published in Spanish, and made a summer school course on Bahá'í law with my mother, which she taught for years. I pioneered spiritual assembly arbitration of divorce, with Shoghi Effendi's cabled permission to do so.
I am legal conservator for my only child, my mentally ill son, who lives in a board and care home in Fresno. Every Wednesday morning I pick him up and take him to breakfast at my Kiwanis Club. He has been a Bahá'í since birth, but needs supervision. I take him to all Bahá'í community activities.
For strengths, maybe courage in the face of adversity. Nurturant to a fault. Forever problem-solving.
For physical characteristics, I am 5'8'' tall and used to be interested in sports but now am trying to keep from falling apart!
Date: Tues, 26 Jun 2001|
From: BCCA Coordinating Committee
To: Bahá'í Announce
Subject: The Passing of Dr. John Cornell
In the Name of God, the All-Glorious!
Dear Bahá'í Friends:
It is was great sadness that we must report to you the sudden passing of Dr. John Cornell, one of the moderators of Bahai-Announce and an ardent supporter of the Bahá'í Computer and Communications Association.
Dr. Cornell, a long-time resident of Reedley, California, died in his home, the apparent victem of a heart attack, on June 24, 2001, at the relatively young age of 77 years. He had passed away suddenly, alone in his house, and it was only through the efforts of some concerned friends, in particular Mrs. Shirley Macias and Mrs. Virginia P. Healy that his passing was discovered. After John had failed to respond to attempts to contact him, the police were contacted who found that John had passed away in his home, as if he has just fallen asleep.
John shall be remembered for his faithful support of the BCCA and his devoted work over the last three and a half years as moderator for the Bahai-Announce list, the flagship service offered by the BCCA. This is a thankless task requiring careful judgment and good human relationship skills, all of which John exemplified. He will be sorely missed. In fact, it appears that he may have passed away after having complete his normal shift for Bahai-Announce.
John has been a long standing supporter of the BCCA and provided continuous encouragement and countless hours of service in numerous BCCA efforts - always with an eye towards better understanding and improving the services. He first attended a BCCA meeting at an ABS conference 5 years ago, where we were trying to explain what the BCCA was and what was happening on the Internet. He was inspired about the Internet and what we were doing, and at that time, gave a check made out to the BCCA, our first contribution! John was instrumental in getting several new lists started and was a constant calming, supportive, and positive voice in many arenas.
We understand that John was very involved with Hmong teaching, often driving a group of six teen-age girls all over the state to different events, with the radio blaring rap and hip-hop tunes to keep them happy on the long trip. He was also instrumental in trying to establish social contacts with many of the Hmong adults.
He also volunteered to drive people around Fresno County who were unable to get around to their doctor's appointments and other locations, as needed.
John was very active in the United Nations Association, in the area. Years ago, John and his mother developed and published a study course on Bahá'í Law.
John was the recipient of at least one letter written on behalf of the Guardian by Ruhiyyih Khanum, with a postscript from Shoghi Effendi himself. This letter was useful to quote in discussions, which dealt among other topics, with the subject of chastity.
Dr. Cornell was a member of the Bahá'í Faith of long standing. He was born in 1922 and is survived by a son, John Cornell Jr, of Fresno, a brother, Dr. Charles Cornell, of Honduras and a niece, in Detroit, who has just recently finished dental school.
Since John resided in the Bahá'í group of Reedley, California, the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Fresno, California, is handling the funeral arrangements. When we have details of these, we shall post them.
The Coordinating Committee wishes to commend the Bahai-Announce moderators, Mrs. Shirley Macias and Mrs. Virginia Healy as well as a number of other friends, including Corkey and Michael Eisinger for their swift action and information about the life of Dr. Cornell and extend our profound gratitude to the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Fresno, California.
We humbly request the friends to remember John and his family in their prayers.
With warmest Bahá'í greetings,
BCCA Coordinating Committee:
Peter Wise, Chairman (Ireland)
Ingrid Olson, Secretary (United States)
Hank Mudge, Treasurer (United States)
Mark Towfiq, Sysop (United States)
Marion Finley, Vice Chair (Japan)
Virginia P. Healy