Wray Cornwell, for almost fifty years one of the community’s most prolific, yet humble volunteers, died last week following a brief illness. He was 89 years old.
Wray Clifton Cornwell was born December 20, 1929 in Santa Ana, Calif. to Louise and Clifton Cornwell. He spent his early years living on the Irvine Ranch, then lived in Yorba Linda, Lennox, and Westchester, among other locations in Southern California. He graduated from Inglewood High School in 1947, where he was the student body president, then received a scholarship to the University of Redlands where in 1951 he received his bachelor’s degree in economics. While at the U of R, he met his future wife, Jeanne Walker, and they were married in August 1952. After their marriage, they moved to Los Altos while Wray finished his second year of his MBA program at Stanford Business School.
After receiving his MBA, Wray and Jeanne moved to Burbank and he began his career at Formica Corporation, where he was a salesman with industrial clients, including Lockheed. Rather than accept a relocation outside of California, the young family moved to Altadena and Wray moved to Leed Plastics in Los Angeles where he later became vice president of the company. After more than 30 years with Leed, he retired at age 59 and began what was to become a long period of happy retirement spent with his family and serving his community.
Wray, Jeanne and their children—Tom and Kay—moved from Altadena to San Marino in 1969. They were both active in community organizations, and in 2004 they were honored by the San Marino Rotary Club as Paul Harris Fellows for their service to San Marino. Wray served as leader of San Marino Boy Scout Troop 354, was on the boards of The Old Mill Foundation and Monte Vista Grove Homes, and was a founding member of the San Marino Library Foundation. Wray was also a long-time member of San Marino Rotary and the San Marino City Club, as well as a member and president of the Friends of the Old Mill and the Friends of the San Marino Library. He was a deacon and a trustee at San Marino Community Church and worked tirelessly to serve his church community doing everything from cooking and delivering meals to members, ushering at services for nearly 50 years, refurbishing the church’s chapel, and fabricating and installing wrought iron handrails at the homes of more than 30 members. He was a member of SMCC’s Men’s Breakfast group, and considered its members his closest friends. He was truly an example of a Christian living his faith through his actions, words, and deeds.
Wray is predeceased by his parents and brother Arthur Cornwell, and is survived by his wife of 66 years, Jeanne Walker Cornwell and son, Tom Cornwell of Pasadena, daughter Kay Romer (Greg) of Orange, Calif., and grandchildren Laura Romer of Mesa, Ariz., Colin Romer of Lakewood, Colo., Glenn Romer of Orange, Calif., Ella Cornwell of South Pasadena and half-brother, Gene Lukensmeyer, who resides in Florida.
Services will be held on Friday, December 7 at 11:00 a.m. at San Marino Community Church, 1750 Virginia Rd., San Marino. Memorial contributions may be made to Monte Vista Grove Homes in Pasadena or San Marino Community Church.