Derek Harland Cornforth
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Derek Harland Cornforth
July 14, 1934 - June 11, 2020
Derek Harland Cornforth died in the early morning of June 11th, 2020, at the age of 85. It was the 60th anniversary of his wedding to his wife, Rachel.
Derek was born in Whitby, England to William and Mary Cornforth. He grew up during the war with a tight-knit group of cousins and Aunties while the men were fighting overseas. Playing cricket, running cross-country, and jumping his horse, Tinker, were favorite pastimes in his youth. He attended Whitby grammar school and Durham University. In 1955, he traveled to Evanston, Illinois to study civil engineering at Northwestern University on a Fulbright scholarship. This experience opened a whole new world to him, one that he would ultimately embrace as his chosen home. Upon returning to England, he enrolled in a doctoral program at Imperial College in London and graduated in 1961. During this time, he met his future wife, Rachel Allen. They were married in 1960.
Derek worked in England and the Pacific Northwest as he advanced in his career as a geotechnical engineer. Eventually, he and Rachel decided to emigrate to the United States in 1974 with their children, Terry and Denis. In 1983, Derek founded the consulting engineering firm Cornforth Consultants/Landslide Technology. He took great pride in the success of his company and led the talented team of professionals until his retirement in 2001.
In retirement, he captured his knowledge and experience in a book, Landslides in Practice, published in 2005. He and Rachel traveled widely and built a house in Sisters with a mesmerizing view of the mountains. It was his favorite place. Derek was a lifelong fan of Manchester United football club and an enthusiastic city and classic league soccer coach for Lake Oswego. He was president and member of the Lake Oswego Rotary and member of the Oswego Lake Country Club. He loved golf, videography, good wine and his family.
Derek was predeceased by his older brother, Bill. He is survived by his wife, Rachel; daughter, Terry (Michael) Riscoe; and his son, Denis (Cheri) Cornforth. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Erin (Nick) Meermeier, Jay Cornforth, Allison (Bobby) Thompson, Casey Riscoe, Jessi Cornforth; and his great-grandchild, baby boy Thompson due in July.
We will have a gathering to remember Derek at a later date. Updated information will be provided at: www.riverviewcemeteryfuneralhome.com
Remembrance gifts in lieu of flowers may be made to the Alzheimer's Association of Oregon.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Oregonian from Jun. 25 to Jun. 28, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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2 entries
June 29, 2020
Derek was a true influence to me when I was starting my business in the early 80's, always supportive and a truly fine human bean. I will never forget on one of our first projects together that Derek showed up in the field on a very rainy day dressed to the nines as always and slipped on his rubber boots and went work in his suite and tie. The geotechnical community will truly miss Derek.
Greg McInnis
Friend
June 25, 2020
Derek was a superb engineer and a very nice person.
John F Bradach, Sr.
Friend
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