It is with great sorrow and regret that we must
notify you of the death of our Classmate, Russell Cornelius, on March 12, 2014,
in Convent, LA, after suffering a massive stroke that stopped his respiratory
function while on a Catholic retreat at Manresa upriver from New Orleans.
Russell is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years,
Carolyn; daughter Allison Alleva, her husband Quentin, and children Robert and
Jonathan; son Roger Cornelius; and daughter Cecily Cornelius-White and children
Avery and Evan. Russell was predeceased by both of his parents and by his
brother and our Classmate, Roger Cornelius.
Visitation will be at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral
Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Boulevard, New Orleans, LA on March 17 from 9 to 11 AM
with a funeral mass beginning at 11 AM. Interment in the family tomb at Lake
Lawn will follow.
Condolences may be sent to Carolyn at 131 Mulberry
Drive, Metairie, LA 70005.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in Russell's memory
may be made to West Point Association of Graduates.
Russell. Be thou at peace.
Class Memorial Pages\H-1 Russell Cornelius.pdf
Russ was the quintessential Southern Gentleman. As H-1
mates we became good friends in recent years exchanging emails and chatting at
reunions. He was one of the wisest , caring, and intelligent men I have ever
known. My wife, Teri, and I draw some comfort in having spent some time with
Russ and Carolyn during a visit to New Orleans a few months before his passing.
RUSSELL MARTIN CORNELIUS was born on
June 16, 1939 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He died on March 12, 2014 in Convent,
Louisiana of natural causes while on a Catholic retreat at Manresa. He was
predeceased by his mother Katherine Russell
Cornelius and by his father Roger Lamon Cornelius.
Russell's only sibling, identical twin brother Roger, died of lymphoma in
1966. Russell is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Carolyn Faller
Cornelius, and their three children Allison
Ann Cornelius Alleva of Baton Rouge, Roger Martin
Cornelius of Metairie, and Cecily Faller Cornelius-White of Springfield,
Missouri. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Robert and Jonathan
Alleva, and Avery and Evan Cornelius-White.
graduated as valedictorian of the Class of 1957 at De La Salle High School in
New Orleans. He then graduated No. 5 in the Class of 1961 at the U.S. Military
Academy, West Point, where he received his Bachelor degree in Engineering and
Military Science and commission as Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served in
Germany, where he commanded a Field Artillery firing battery. He resigned from
active duty in 1964 to attend business school at Tulane University. He was
elected president of Tulane's Graduate Business Administration Society and
earned his Master of Business Administration degree in 1966. While a graduate
student at Tulane, Russell began service in the Louisiana National Guard's
Washington Artillery at Jackson Barracks, where he was promoted to Captain and
commanded a firing battery. He resigned his Army commission after the Artillery
battalion was disbanded in 1968. After receiving his MBA,
Russell worked for Humble Oil & Refining
Company (later acquired by Exxon) 3 years as a refinery engineer in Baton Rouge
and 2 years as a senior supply analyst in Houston. Leaving Humble in 1971, he
moved back to the New Orleans area and entered Loyola Law School, where he
received the degree of Juris Doctor in 1974. He co-founded the New Orleans law
firm of Cornelius, Sartin & Murphy. Along with his law partners and associates,
Russell practiced defense law for several major
insurance companies. He was admitted to practice in all state and federal courts
in Louisiana, and in the U.S. Supreme Court. During his career, he held the
highest peer ratings in legal ability and ethics. He was a member of the legal
fraternity of Phi Delta Phi, the International Association of Defense Counsel,
and the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel. Russell also served as a board
member of the Louise S. McGehee School on the executive committee while his
daughters Allison and Cecily were enrolled there.
suffered a debilitating stroke during brain surgery in 1991. Despite the
physical impairments that followed, he thankfully kept his keen intelligence,
sharp wit and positive outlook on life for 22 years and 6 months to the day
after this life-changing event. He maintained his law practice until he retired
in 2009. He spent many happy years with his family and he and Carolyn travelled
the world several times over.
social life included membership in the West Point Society of the Mid-Gulf, Krewe
of Hermes, Bienville Club, Metairie Country Club, and New Orleans Country Club.
As a younger man, Russell was an avid tennis player and even managed an
occasional win in a club tournament. In later years, he stayed active and found
enjoyment each week with regular workouts at the gym and rounds of golf with old
friends. Since their marriage in 1962, he was ever sustained by the love and
companionship of his devoted wife Carolyn. He loved his family and often said
that he felt his greatest contribution to society and America's future would be
his children and their descendants.
and friends are invited to attend services at LAKE LAWN METAIRIE FUNERAL HOME,
5100 Pontchartrain Blvd., New Orleans, Louisiana on Monday, March 17, 2014.
Visitation will be from 9:00am to 11:00am with a funeral mass beginning at
11:00am, followed by the interment in the family tomb at Lake Lawn. In lieu of
flowers, please consider a contribution in Russell's name to Manresa House of
Retreats, P.O. Box 89, Convent, LA 70723, or to 698 Mills Road, West Point, NY
10996, or to St. Francis Xavier Church Building Fund, 444 Metairie Road,
Metairie, LA 70005.
Taps Memorial Article:
Russell M. Cornelius 1961
Cullum No. 23286 • Mar 12, 2014 • Died in Convent, LA
Interred in Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, LA
Russell Martin Cornelius was born June 16, 1939
in New Orleans, LA to Roger Lamon Cornelius and Katherine Russell Cornelius.
Russell’s dad died when he and his identical twin brother, Roger, were in
sixth grade. Both set their sights on West Point in tenth grade.
Appointments to the Academy highlighted success in high school, and Russell
and Roger were neck-and-neck tops in their class throughout high school.
Russell finished first in his class at De La Salle and delivered the
valedictory address at graduation. Along with his brother, he reported for
Beast Barracks five weeks later with the vision that he might again manage
to graduate tops in the class. At the end of that brutal initial day,
however, he pondered his earlier school years and wondered whether his
decision to attend West Point might have been a dreadful mistake. Plebe
year, however, with benefit of great roommates and H-1 companymates, proved
tolerable, and any doubts he had about West Point faded. At year end, he
ranked fourteenth and would wear stars on his collar. A more leisurely
existence as an upperclassman saw improvement to fifth in order of merit. At
graduation in 1961, the next man closing fast, Russell was happy to have
finished fifth in his class.
Graduation leave allowed for much togetherness with
Carolyn, his hometown girlfriend who was entering her final year at LSU.
Field Artillery School was followed by Airborne training. Russell and
Carolyn got married four weeks before his deployment to Germany in March
1962. She joined him there two months later after graduating from LSU.
Assignments as Bn. R&S Officer, Battery Exec. and then Battery CO brought
military growth and lasting friendships. Russell’s next assignment, graduate
school to prepare for a teaching position in the Electrical Engineering
Dept. at West Point, sadly never materialized. He resigned from active duty
in 1964 and left Germany to return home to New Orleans. Russell entered the
MBA program at Tulane University, where his twin brother, Roger, having
already left active duty after being diagnosed with lymphoma, was starting
his second year of business school. That fall Russell began four years of
service in the Louisiana Army National Guard’s Washington Artillery, where
he commanded a firing battery and rose to the rank of captain.
The death of his twin brother, Roger, in 1966, two months
before Russell received his MBA, served to instill a somber realization of
life’s uncertainty. Russell’s civilian career began that year when he
accepted a position with Humble Oil & Refining Company (now Exxon) at the
massive oil refinery in Baton Rouge, LA. For three years there, with his
Tulane MBA and West Point BS, he did process engineering, computer
simulation and economic forecasting. Then came a promotion to Senior Supply
Analyst and two years at Humble’s headquarters in Houston. Russell left the
oil company in 1971 for law school at Loyola University in New Orleans.
Receiving the degree of Juris Doctor in 1974, he embarked upon a 35-year law
career in a small partnership primarily focusing on insurance defense. He
was admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Louisiana and in
the U.S. Supreme Court. Having well represented several major insurance
companies over his career, Russell was very proud to have earned the highest
legal peer ratings in ability (A) and ethics (V). He continued in his law
practice until retirement in 2009.
Russell suffered a debilitating stroke during brain
surgery in 1991. Determined to overcome a neurological handicap and continue
to perform his duty, Russell fully worked his way out of a wheelchair 11
months after the ill-fated surgery. He continued to cope with partial
left-side paralysis and visual impairment, but thankfully kept his keen
intelligence, sharp wit and positive outlook on life for 22 years and 6
months to the day after this life-changing event. He remained active with
gym workouts, travel with Carolyn and development of a double-bogey golf
game. Carolyn’s love and devotion made the life journey all worthwhile.
Without her, there would have been little social life and no children or
grandchildren to give joy in later years. Russell loved his family and often
said that he felt his greatest contribution to society and America’s future
would be his children and their descendants.
Russell was a spiritual man and attended a Catholic
retreat every year during the first week of Lent. He always returned from
the retreat with a certain peace about him. Russell died of natural causes
on the last day of his annual retreat. His family will miss him, but they
take solace that he was at peace with the Lord in his final moments.
Russell is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years,
Carolyn Faller Cornelius, and their three children: daughter Allison Ann
Cornelius Alleva and her husband David Quentin Alleva of Baton Rouge, LA,
son Roger Martin Cornelius of Metairie, LA and daughter Cecily Faller
Cornelius-White of Springfield, MO. He is also survived by four
grandchildren: Robert Martin Alleva, Jonathan Russell Alleva, Avery Jane
Cornelius-White and Evan Riley Cornelius-White.
Russell’s concluding words from his high school
valedictory address are appropriate here: “My friends, I have no parting
sigh to give you, so accept my parting smile. With these words, and in this
spirit, I bid you all farewell.”
Self-written with additions by his son,