Dr. Edward Hugh Cornell

Godfrey | Friday, September 16 2022 |

Dr. Edward Hugh Cornell, 89, died at 8:10 p.m. on Friday, September 16, 2022 at Alton Memorial Hospital, surrounded by his family.  He was born January 8, 1933 in Chicago, IL the son of the late Hugh Monet and Helen Amanda (Kopelke) Cornell. He was raised in Park Ridge and attended Northwestern University’s Fienberg School of Medicine, where he earned a Doctor of Medicine in General Surgery (1958), achieving first in his class.  He completed his internship at Cook County Hospital (1959) and residency at the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Hospital (1963).  On September 17, 1960 in Glenview, IL he married Antoinette Claire Baer. He served in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. He relocated in 1965 with his family to Alton, Illinois, where he was the onsite Medical Doctor for Shell Oil Company and partnered in practice with Dr. Robert Anschuetz. Dr. Cornell played many roles over the years, including acting as the Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery for Alton Memorial Hospital as well as practicing general surgery at both St. Anthony’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Alton. He practiced medicine for 42 years, retiring in June of 2003. He was widely respected for his work, beloved by the numerous patients and families he cared for, and was recognized with Alton Memorial’s prestigious Chairman’s Award, among other honors. He had very high standards and was generous with his knowledge, educating those around him, always. He was devoted to his work and took pride in providing the best care possible. He used to say ‘God was the great physician. I’m just trying to help.’

Dr. Cornell’s wife of 62 years, Antoinette, survives. Also surviving are two daughters, Catherine Antoinette French (John) of Lake St. Louis, MO, Elizabeth Cornell Segovia (Eduardo) of Cary, NC, three sons, Mark Edward Cornell (Lori Arnold) of Magdalena, NM, Paul Stephen Cornell (Raina) of Columbia, MO, Scott Geoffrey Cornell (Amy) of Jerseyville, IL, eight grandchildren (Meghan, Nicholas, Augustus, Amanda, Caleigh, Audrey, Lauren, and Andrea) and one great-granddaughter, Olivia.  Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Doris Helen Cornell and one son, Douglas Anthony Cornell.

Dr. Cornell was an intensely curious person, well read and well versed, who knew so many things, about everything.  He knew history, geography, and simply loved learning. He loved animals especially dogs, cats, and birds. He owned many collies, malteses, canaries, and rescued cats, who brought him great joy. He was an avid reader, sharing a love for mystery thrillers with his children. He was a great storyteller and animated narrator, reading aloud stories to his children, especially the nativity gospel and ‘A Christmas Carol’. He loved motorsports. He followed Formula 1, traveling to Monaco to see the Gran Prix and attended the Driver’s dinner. That led to a love for NASCAR. He attended many races and truly enjoyed watching Jeff Gordon. He was an enthusiastic sports fan his whole life, starting as a boy, when he listened to the White Sox on the radio. He especially enjoyed basketball, following Larry Bird and the Celtics, and baseball, with a deep passion for the New York Yankees.  He loved musical theater, especially the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, holding season tickets to the Muny and traveling to New York City to see shows like The Phantom of the Opera and Cats.  He was man of deep faith, widely remembered as a lector, reading during mass, and singing in the choir at both St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s.

Visitation will be Thursday, September 22, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Gent Funeral Home in Alton. A mass of Christian burial will be at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, September 23, 2022 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alton.  Father Benjamin Unachukwu, OMV will officiate. A private burial service for the family will be held at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Godfrey. Friends are welcome to join the family at Bluff City Grill starting at 12:30pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 5A’s Animal Shelter, or Found a Hound Rescue. Additional information and online guest book may be found at

Obit Provided By:
Gent Funeral Home

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