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Pastor Bill (Billy) Cornwell, 78, passed away on Friday, March 11, in Sunrise, Fla., at the Vitas Inpatient Hospice home surrounded by his family. Bill was the youngest of ten children born to Cloyd and Fannie Fern (Crum) Cornwell on June 30, 1943, in Talbott, Tenn. Bill married the love of his life, Janice Massengill, on Aug. 17, 1960. They celebrated 59 years of marriage before Janice passed on Dec. 5, 2019. Bill and Jan raised two sons, David Cornwell and Darrin Cornwell.
Billy was raised and worked on the family dairy and tobacco farm in Talbott, Tenn. He also worked for Magnavox and Morristown Fire Department. Billy and Jan moved from Tennessee to Tipton in 1971. Bill worked for A.G. Tebbe Farm Inc. until his retirement. Bill loved farming and driving a tractor-trailer delivering Pioneer seed corn to dealers in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan.
Billy was saved under the ministry of the Rev. Owen McCloud, of Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Talbott, Tenn. At the age of 37, Bill was ordained and he and Janice began a church plant in their garage at 603 N. Independence St. in Tipton. Eventually, the church grew and moved into a permanent location south of Tipton. Over the next 30 years, Community Fellowship Church impacted the lives of hundreds of people. Serving and loving Jesus was his passion and calling. Even though Billy couldn’t read very well the Lord opened his mind and heart to be able to read the Bible and discern truth in order to preach the Gospel of Jesus.
Billy was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, pastor and friend. Bill was a kind and generous man. He was also very funny, even called “crazy” by family and friends. Bill loved to make people laugh and feel loved.
Billy was a gifted baseball player as a teenager. He enjoyed NASCAR racing and he raced on dirt tracks for NASCAR in Tennessee. His car was a bright yellow Chevy Chevelle number “00” he wrecked it and Janice said, “no more, you’re not making me a widow at 21!” In addition to racing and baseball, he and Jan loved to go camping in their various motorhomes. Over the years he and Jan made many friends through church, the community, camping, and through various ministry opportunities. After Janice died, Billy decided to move back to Tennessee where he lived until his passing. Bill was loved by so many but none more than Janice and his boys and grandsons and great-granddaughter.
Bill is survived by his sons, David Cornwell and Darrin (Diwaldo Mena) Cornwell; grandsons, Derek (Tiffany) Cornwell and Dustin (Sade Segovia) Cornwell; great-granddaughter, Evangeline (Evie) Cornwell; brother, Lowell Cornwell; sisters, Edith Quarles and Marcella Franklin; and many nieces and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Janice; daughter-in-law, Ginny Cornwell; brothers, Hugh, Wayland, Jay, Ross and Kenneth Cornwell; and sister, Jean Williams.
The family would like to express gratitude to the Vitas Hospice Home staff for their loving care of Billy. Also, Bobby and Gail Cornwell for their generosity in providing Billy a home in Tennessee. Also, our Aunt Marcella, Aunt Edith and Uncle Lowell for their love and care of dad. Thank you to all our cousins for their love and support of dad and us.
A funeral service celebrating Bill’s life will be on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at 11 a.m. at Taylor & Cowan Funeral Home located at 314 N. Main St. in Tipton, with Pastor David Cornwell officiating. A visitation for family and friends will take place on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, from 2 to 8:30 p.m.
Burial will take place immediately following the service at Fairview Cemetery.
Taylor & Cowan Funeral Home is honored to serve the Cornwell family in their time of need. Please feel free to leave an online condolence or share a special memory of Bill with his family on his tribute wall at www.taylorcowanfh.com