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Dr. William Powell Cornell

1932 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Dr.  William Powell Cornell Obituary
Dr. William Powell Cornell

Phoenix - On Saturday, July 21st, 2018, Dr. William Powell Cornell, loving husband, renowned surgeon and dedicated father and grandfather passed away peacefully in his home at 86, surrounded by his wife, children and friends.

William, "Bill" Cornell, was born in Norfolk, Virginia on February 27, 1932 to Dr. and Mrs. William Sessions Cornell. Bill graduated from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill for both his undergraduate and medical degrees. He went on to complete his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1957. Bill specialized in cardiovascular thoracic surgery and became a well-known and highly-respected surgeon throughout the medical community. Renowned for his brilliant technical surgical skills he was recognized as one of Phoenix's Top Doctors by Phoenix Magazine for many consecutive years. In 1969, Bill successfully completed the first kidney transplant in Arizona. He practiced primarily out of Good Samaritan Hospital and St. Joseph's Medical Center for 35 years and retiring in June 2000.

Bill had a passion for all things athletic and challenging. He ran track at Chapel Hill and was awarded the E. J. Evans Track Award for Outstanding Senior Athlete in 1953. Remaining active in his retirement, Bill launched several businesses and invested in real estate. His love and passion for aviation, mechanics and automobiles were consistent throughout his life. He was a pilot owning his own aircraft, which he used to fly his family to vacation spots. He restored old cars at his automotive shop, Heart Classics. Although his love for Ford, Chevy and American-made cars came first, he also became fond of rebuilding old Ferraris and Porsches. Bill loved tennis, skiing, and basketball, and was even known to be a ping pong and foosball enthusiast.

Bill met his first wife, Dorothy Rae Smith while at UNC in Chapel Hill. They had three children together, Parker, Kelly and Paige. After living in the Valley for almost fifteen years, he met his second wife, Traci Anderson, while working at Good Samaritan Hospital, and they married in 1980. They had two children together, Casey and Jax. In 2013, Bill married his current wife, Susan White, and they enjoyed travel, ballroom dancing, and time on their boat.

Dr. William P. Cornell was preceded in death by his former wife, Dot Cornell and is survived by his wife, Susan, former wife, Traci, his five children, Parker, Kelly, Paige, Casey, and Jax, his eight grandchildren, and cat Smudge. A memorial service is scheduled for September 8th at Hansen Desert Hills Mortuary at 6500 E. Bell Rd. at 10:00 am to celebrate his life and remember a brilliant, respected, talented, southern gentleman whose professional and family legacies will last forever. Bill requested any acknowledgments or donations be given to Crisis Nursery on 2334 E. Polk St. Phoenix, AZ 85006.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Aug. 12, 2018
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