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Paul W. Cornell

by Susan J. Ainsworth
May 24, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 21

Paul W. Cornell, 95, a retired chemical engineer and corporate executive, died on April 26 at his home in Oceanside, Calif.

Born in Blue Rapids, Kan., Cornell received a chemical engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., in 1936.

He started his career at Esso Research as a research engineer before joining Gulf Oil. During World War II, Cornell represented Gulf Oil in a multicompany effort to develop synthetic-rubber raw materials at federally funded Neches Butane Products, in Port Neches, Texas. He was a commissioned officer in the Chemical Corps of the Army Reserves.

In 1956, Cornell was named vice president of engineering, research, and production for Goodrich-Gulf Chemicals, which was then a major producer of synthetic rubber. In 1963, he joined Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical, in Oakland, Calif., as its director for operational excellence. He focused on quality management and operations loss prevention. He retired in 1978.

In retirement he participated in Elderhostel educational travel programs, volunteered in his community, built furniture, and crafted toys for disadvantaged children.

Cornell was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Sigma Xi, and Tau Beta Pi. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1946.

He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Mardi; sons, Stephen, David, and Richard; daughter, Barbara Feist; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.


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