Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Cornwell, a longtime resident of Wallowa County, died at the age of 89 on Oct. 24, 2005, at the Life Care Center in McMinnville.
Cornwell was a poet with four books to her credit and also wrote a bi-weekly column for the Chieftain for over a decade.
She was born on March 24, 1916, in Portland, the daughter of Ned and Irene Butler Hynson. She grew up in the Parkrose area of Portland and graduated from Grant High School. After high school she went on to attend the University of Oregon. While working on the assembly of airplanes at the Boeing plant in Seattle, Wash., she met Kenneth Cornwell, and they were married on Dec. 31, 1943, in Seattle.
In 1949 the couple moved to Upper Prairie Creek near Joseph, where they farmed for many years. Her special interests were writing poetry and short stories, and her work was published in the Oregonian, Reader’s Digest, Ideal Magazine, Christian Science Monitor and other publications.
She published her first book of poetry, “Rainbow and Rye,” in 1974; her other books included “Build Me a Bridge” (1984), “Moment Out of Time (1984); and “Sprinkle with Stars” (1996).
“Animals and nature are my biggest inspiration … people come in a poor second,” she said during a Chieftain interview when her last book was published. At that time she had been a columnist for the Chieftain for about 10 years, writing gentle anecdotes about her childhood and years as a housewife or observations on life and nature.
An earlier Chieftain columnist, Ben Weathers, praised Cornwell when her first book of poetry was published, calling her “the most talented poet living in the whole state of Oregon.” He added, “She has a wonderful command of the language, and she can write about the simplest things and make them appear most beautiful.”
Her family said that she loved living on the farm, walking in the woods and caring for farm animals. She moved to McMinnville several years ago.
She was preceded in death by her husband.
Survivors include daughters Dawn Goss of Bloomington, Ind., Kathy Collins of Brush Prairie, Wash., and Karen Gabbert of McMinnville; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
A memorial services will be held Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. at Bollman Funeral Home in Enterprise.
Wallowa County Chieftain, November 3, 2005
Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Cornwell, 89, of McMinnville and formerly of Joseph died Oct. 24 at a care center. A memorials service will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday Nov. 5 at Bollman Funeral Home, 315 W. Main St. in Enterprise.
Mrs. Cornwell was born March 24, 1916, to Ned and Irene Butler Hynson in Portland. She attended the University of Oregon and on Dec. 31, 1943, married Kenneth Cornwell in Seattle. In 1949 they moved to Upper Prairie Creek in Joseph where they farmed for many years. She moved to McMinnville several years ago.
She wrote poetry and short stories, many of which were published in The Oregonian, Reader’s Digest, Ideal magazine and her four books of poetry. She enjoyed her farm, walking in the woods and caring for the farm animals.
survivors include a daughter, Dawn Goss of Bloomington, Ind.; two daughters-in-law, Kathy Collins of Brush Prairie, Wash., and Karen Gabbert of McMinnville; three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her husband died earlier.
The Observer – Obituaries for the week ending Nov. 5, 2005 – Published: November 7, 2005