SMITHFIELD - Merl Matthews Cornett, better known to many as "Shakespeare", passed away on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at Consulate Health Care of Windsor at the age of 88, after a lengthy illness. He was born July 25, 1925 in Dendron, VA and was the son of the late A. Clarence and Alice Walker Cornett. He was a World War II
veteran, serving in the U. S. Army
from 1945-1946. He was employed by Smithfield Implement Company before later starting his own auto repair business, Cornett's Garage, on Main Street in Smithfield, which he owned and operated until his retirement in 1998. He was a member of Isle of Wight Congregational Christian Church, the American Legion George F. Dashiell Post 49, and the Smithfield Hunt Club. An avid hunter and fisherman in his younger years, he enjoyed deer and rabbit hunting, fishing trips out on the James River and to Nags Head with his many friends, and, in his later years, traveling to visit friends and listening to bluegrass music. In addition to his parents, Mr. Cornett was also preceded in death by his loving wife of 53 years, Lucy J. Cornett, four brothers, and a sister. He is survived by his daughter, Robin Cornett Davis, and son-in-law, Wayne Davis, two grandsons, Bradley Davis and Caiden Davis, all of Smithfield, numerous nieces and nephews, and three very dear and special friends, Diana "Dee" Ellis, Joyce Kallaher, and Corrine Booker. A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 11:00am in St. Luke's Memorial Park with the Rev. John Gordon officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00-7:30pm on Tuesday, July 22, in Colonial Funeral Home, Smithfield. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Isle of Wight Christian Church, c/o Stan Turner, 17314 Jolly Circle, Windsor, VA 23487 or to the Isle of Wight Animal Shelter. Colonial Funeral Home in Smithfield is handling the arrangements.