DURHAM – Dorothy Caroline Knittel Cornell, age 86, died on December 9, 2019. She was born on April 26, 1933 in New Castle, PA, the only child of Henry Carl Knittel and Margaret Shirk Knittel.
Dorothy battled cancer for 7 years, meeting its new challenges and continuing to live life fully. At her passing she was surrounded by family, and had received many caring calls and visits.
Dorothy received a Bachelor’s degree from Thiel College in Greenville, PA and a Masters of Science in Education from Westminster College, in New Wilmington, PA. She married Thiel classmate, David E. Cornell in 1955, and with him celebrated 55 years of marriage. She taught 5th grade in the Sharon, PA schools for thirty years, served as Principal of Hadley Elementary School in Sharon, was an active member of Pennsylvania State Education (PSEA) teacher’s union, and believed strongly in the value of professional public school teachers to society.
Dorothy is survived by her oldest son, Brad, his wife, Martha, and their two children, Nathaniel and Caroline, and by her younger son, Jeff, his wife, Maria, and their daughter, Kira. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, David.
Dorothy was a creative and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend who loved dancing, traveling, gardening, music, plays and concerts – especially performances by her sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. She missed very few opening nights at PlayMakers Repertory Company since moving to Durham in 2012. Her curiosity and caring nature defined her, as well as her drive for keeping life around her full of love and “well ordered.” She cherished her lifelong Pennsylvania friends, and the many new friends she met in her Croasdaile Village community since moving to Durham. She will be deeply missed.
A memorial service will be held January 2nd, 11:00 a.m. at Few Chapel at Croasdaile Village, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Pkwy, Durham, NC 27705. Reception with light refreshments to follow.
Memorials for Dorothy may be made to Duke Cancer Institute at www.dukecancerinstitute.org. Choose “DCI Sarcoma and Bone Cancers Fund” from the drop-down menu. Or you may send a memorial gift by mail to “Strike Out for Sarcoma,” 40 Duke Medicine Circle, Box 3312, Durham, NC 27710.