James Cornwell

April 20, 1931 ~ December 8, 2021 (age 90)


James (Jim) Denman Cornwell, 90, of Mackinaw, Illinois, passed into paradise on Wednesday evening, December 8, 2021, at the Apostolic Christian Home in Eureka. He was born in Eureka on April 20, 1931 to Loran Nixon and Frances Elizabeth (Denman) Cornwell. He married Rhea Ann Appenzeller of Mackinaw on June 16, 1956 at the Mackinaw Christian Church – Disciples of Christ. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents and brothers, Bruce and Rodney (Sandra) Cornwell. Jim is survived by his sisters, Carole (Larry) Lieving and Susan (Dennis) Langwith; twin sons, Kent William and Keith Loran (Kim) Cornwell of Mackinaw; one daughter, Mary Frances (M.C.) Garza of Edinburg, Texas; six grandchildren, Chad William (Gina) Cornwell, Manuel James (Lillian) Garza, Brian Michael (Stella) Garza, Lauren Anne Cornwell, Emily Mae Cornwell and Jacob Matthew Garza; four great grandchildren, Nolan James Cornwell, Manuel James Garza Junior, Paityn Marie Garza, Rose Jasmine Garza and Paxton Thomas Cornwell.

Jim was a devoted caring husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He, along with his wife, Rhea, provided a happy home for their three children growing up on the family farm in rural Mackinaw, and later a second home for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jim was a bright, innovative, wise farmer; diplomatic, never bragging, kind, stern, no-nonsense, but never mean, and never held a grudge. In his later years, his grandchildren and their wives described him as “chill.” He absolutely LOVED his craft of farming and was described by his father, Loran Cornwell, as a “MASTER Farmer.” Jim also LOVED his favorite past time, fishing in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota around Appy’s Island or the lakes of Ontario Canada, wherever you could catch the most walleye and big northern pike.

Jim began farming in rural Deer Creek right out of high school, but was soon drafted into the U.S. army during the Korean War. He was not sent to Korea, and was, instead, stationed near Manheim, Germany for two years. During that time, when on leave, he and an army buddy traveled and saw many of the famous sites of Europe. When he returned after serving his country, Jim resumed farming, married Rhea and settled down in rural Mackinaw, farming for his in-laws, Clarence and Mary Etta (Walker) Appenzeller. Jim was not afraid to try new things and later, with a mind for the future, set his sons up in farming by building a hog confinement operation, where together they raised and marketed over 4000 hogs a year. He was also a member of the Mackinaw American Legion. The three GREAT joys of his life were watching his twin sons, Kent and Keith, play football, and his daughter, Mary Frances, play volleyball and softball for Dee-Mack High and Illinois Wesleyan University and later his sons following him into the family business, both becoming farmers, working under his tutelage. He also enjoyed visiting his daughter, Mary Frances, and her family in Deep South Texas at Christmas, but not the summers …TOO HOT!

Jim was a faithful member of the Mackinaw Christian Church where his funeral will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, December 17, 2021. Pastor Judith Thomas will officiate. A visitation will be from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Thursday, December 16, 2021 and a half hour before the service on Friday, both at the church, with interment following at Mount Zion Cemetery in Deer Creek. A meal will follow in the Mackinaw Christian Church Fellowship Hall immediately after interment. Masks are required and CDC guidelines will be followed. Haensel-Oswald Funeral Home in Mackinaw is assisting the family with arrangements.

Memorials may be made to Mackinaw Christian Church or World Vision. 

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