Jean Cornelius

Obituary of Jean McDougall Cornelius

Jean McDougall Cornelius, age 97, of Cocoa Beach, FL, passed away on January 31, 2024 with her children at her side.

She was born on July 17,1926, in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Jean was one of eight children (John, Lois, Clifford, Alice, Clayton, Keith, Jean, and Lynn) born to Melda and Oscar McDougall. She had many pleasant memories growing up on a dairy farm with her large family. She graduated from Grove City High School in 1943 at the age of 16. At age 17, Jean worked as one of the many Rosie the Riveters during WWII.

She graduated cum laude from Indiana State University of PA and did graduate work at Penn State. In 1947, she established the first business department at Saegertown High School in Saegertown, PA where she taught business education for six years.

In 1954, Jean married the love of her life, Bill Cornelius. They moved to Detroit, Michigan where they raised three children (Paula, Bob, and Gail). As they grew, she returned to her career as professor of business education for 20 years at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan.

She retired with her husband, Bill, in 1986 and moved to Four Seasons Condominiums along the Banana River in Cocoa Beach, Florida. She was an active member of Riverside Presbyterian Church, the Cocoa Beach Ladies’ Golf League, Bridge Club, and volunteered at Cape Canaveral Hospital for 27 years.

Jean is survived by three children: Paula (Don) Knutson of St, Croix Falls, Wisconsin, Robert Cornelius of Cocoa, Florida and Gail Salata of Rocklin, California; six grandchildren (Julie Cornelius, Michael Knutson, Byron Salata, Amy Baillargeon, Lauren Cornelius, and Tyler Salata); five great-grandchildren (Milo, Otto, Luke, Wes, and Emmie), special nieces and nephews and her best friend, Florence ("Web") Gillette.

She was preceded in death by her husband (Bill) who passed away in 1992, all of her brothers and sisters, and son-in-law (Gary Salata).

Jean enjoyed cooking, entertaining, golfing, traveling, reading, playing cards, solving word puzzles, mentoring others, volunteering, and building close relationships with friends, family members, and caregivers. She was incredibly generous, welcoming, witty and had a wonderful sense of humor.

The family would like to extend gratitude to her wonderful team of caregivers: Becki, Cheri, Kymm, Tia, and Vicki. They are also grateful for the excellent care provided by Dr. Amit Barochia, Jacqueline Samani APRN, and Dr. Charles Chamas DPM throughout the years.

Jean became the McDougall clan matriarch and will be dearly missed by friends and family.

The memorial service will be held at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 3400 N. Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, Florida on Saturday, April 20, 2024. Visitation will be at the church from 10:00 to 11:00 immediately followed by the memorial service. Interment will be at a later date with family at Florida Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, Jean requested memorial contributions to Riverside Presbyterian Church.

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