Robert “Bob” Arlo Cornell, age 86, surrounded by his loving family, passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 18, 2018 in Warrenton, Virginia.
He was born in San Diego, California to Arlo and Kathryn Cornell. He attended Point Loma High School where he played quarterback and first baseman for the varsity sports teams and was Student Body President of his senior class. While earning his undergraduate degree from San Diego State University, he served as Freshman Class President, Sophomore Representative to the Student Council, and President of the Associated Men Students. He was honored as Kappa Sigma Man of the Year for Southern California in 1952.
He served in the United States Naval Reserves in the submarine service from 1951 - 1953 and was commissioned as an Ensign to active duty in 1953. He served in the Korean War, earning the rank of Lieutenant JG. He was awarded the Expert Rifleman Medal, the Expert Pistol Shot Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
Following his time in the Navy, Bob entered Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1955 and graduated with a master’s degree in Business Administration in 1957. After touring Hewlett Packard as a graduate student, Bob immediately realized the HP values and culture matched his personal beliefs and wanted to join the team. He worked for Hewlett-Packard for 17 years, holding various positions including Production Engineer, Production Manager, and Operations Manager. He spent two years in Böblingen, Germany as one of two Americans who went to set up Hewlett-Packard’s first overseas manufacturing operation. He worked for Spectra-Physics from 1974 - 1984 and was responsible for all operational activities associated with the company’s laser products business. He led the start-up of the scanner manufacturing plant in Eugene, Oregon in 1980 - 1981. He spent the latter years of his career as an Independent Contractor specializing in manufacturing turn-a-rounds. He was also a co-organizer and founder of Foothill Bank in Los Altos, California, and Director of the Homeowner’s Association for Kiahuna Plantation Resort on the island of Kauai. Bob had a genuine interest in people and mentored countless men and women throughout his career. He had a knack for seeing the potential in others and inspiring them to achieve it.
Three weeks before leaving for Stanford, he met the love of his life, Beverly Sue Copeland. On his way out of town, he sent her a note saying, “Please wait for me.” They wrote to each other every day for two years, and in 1957, six days after he graduated with his MBA from Stanford, they were married. Their love story continued for over 63 years as their family grew. They settled in Los Altos, California and raised three children, Barbara Wolfe, Kathryn Crabtree, and Carl Cornell. Bob was an active church leader and was involved in his children’s activities, including scouting and sports.
In their retirement, Bob and Sue moved to Sunriver, Oregon, where they enjoyed the beauty of the High Desert and made many happy memories with their family and friends. They especially loved spending time with their grandchildren, Amanda Lockwood, Allison Wolfe, Brianna Wolfe, Robert KC Cornell, Jacqueline Crabtree, Ryan Crabtree, and Nicole Crabtree. Bob was passionate about making things better for the next generation. He read to children in the local schools each week and founded the Care for Kids Foundation. Bob and Sue raised their grandson, KC, and helped raise awareness for Autism. In 2010, they moved to Warrenton, Virginia and lived within a few miles of their daughter Kathy and her family. Bob loved watching his grandchildren pursue their passions and attended every concert and sporting event he could. Recently, Bob was blessed with two great grandsons, Caleb Wolfe Burney and Decker Wolfe Lockwood.
Bob was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed backpacking in the High Sierras, white water rafting in Oregon, Utah, California, and Alaska, and in 1969 he climbed the Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Scandinavia, with long-time Norwegian friend, Gerhard Heiberg. He also enjoyed skiing, kayaking, fishing, bird hunting, underwater photography, and snorkeling. His favorite vacation spots were Yosemite, California and Poipu Beach, Kauai. He was a talented photographer and captured the beauty of these locations and the special family memories on film.
Bob was deeply loved by his family and friends. He will be remembered for his genuine interest in people, his quick wit, his commitment to excellence, and his devotion to family, country, and Christ.
The family would like to extend our gratitude to caregiver Debbie Smith, all the staff at Fauquier Health and Rehabilitation Center, and Heartland Hospice for the loving care they provided Bob.
If you would like to make a contribution in Bob’s memory, the family requests that you support our National Parks. (Please see information below.) Even better, take a hike in a beautiful location and think of him.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held on February 11th at 1:00 pm at Bethel United Methodist Church in Warrenton, Virginia.
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