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Fletcher - Mona Lipe Cornwell, 53, Fletcher, died unexpectedly Tuesday, April 2, 2013, of complications of ovarian cancer. An exceptional mother, wife, daughter and friend, she was the director of community relations and marketing for Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College where she had been employed since 1994. She and her department received numerous awards and in January, she was named the North Carolina Community College System's staff person of the year. She had previously worked as a reporter for the Asheville Citizen-Times.
She served on the boards and committees of numerous local and state organizations including the Buncombe County Schools Foundation, the Buncombe County Justice Advisory Group, North Carolina National Alliance on Mental Illness, and National Alliance on Mental Illness Western Carolina. She received a leadership award from Western Highlands Network for her instrumental role in launching Crisis Intervention Training for area law enforcement officers, school resource officers, emergency medical technicians and others working with individuals with mental health diagnosis. The 40-hour program at A-B Tech builds empathy and trains officers in de-escalation techniques to humanely handle crisis situations with no loss of life. She also served on the state CIT Advisory Group and various other mental health advocacy and community improvement organizations. Asheville's homeless population long held a special place in her heart.
Friends, family and associates will remember her as a woman of uncommon humility with a warm, infectious laugh and indomitable spirit. She attended Highland Christian Community Church and First United Methodist Church.
She is survived by her husband, David Cornwell; two sons, Neal and Graham Cornwell; and her mother, Jo Ellen Lipe, all of Fletcher and a large and grieving extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins. She was preceded in death by her father, Neal Clark Lipe, and a brother, Neal Clark Lipe, Jr.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 6, at 11 a.m. at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Asheville with the Rev. Rob Blackburn officiating. Interment will follow at Lewis Memorial Park in Asheville. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, April 4, at Groce Funeral Home - Lake Julian on Long Shoals Road in Arden.
Flowers are appreciated, as are contributions to the Mona Cornwell Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, established to assist people in need in Buncombe County. Contributions should be made to CFWNC, noting the fund's name on the memo line, and mailed to 4 Vanderbilt Park Dr., Suite 300, Asheville, NC 28803.
Memorial register available at Groce Funeral Home.com
Groce Funeral Home
1401 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28806
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Apr. 4, 2013