O'FALLON — Rob Cornwell Jr., alumni director at Missouri Baptist University, passed away July 13. He was 44.
An MBU graduate, he was employed at the institution for 17 years, with a brief stint at Windermere Baptist Conference Center in Roach. In addition, he had served as minister of music for numerous churches. An active member of the Missouri Baptist Development Council, he served as its president in 2008-09.
More than 800 MBU faculty, staff, students and alumni celebrated Cornwell's life with his family at a memorial service in the university's Pillsbury Huff Fine Arts Chapel on July 18.
"It was a celebration of his life," noted Keith Ross, MBU vice president for institutional advancement. "It was a time of mourning for the university but also a time of celebration and confirmation of the kind of place Missouri Baptist University is."
"Rob Cornwell possessed an authentic joy that touched the lives of countless numbers of students, colleagues and alumni," MBU graduate Jon Hessel said at the service. "It was an honor to call him my friend."
At the July 18 celebration, Ross affirmed Cornwell's contribution to the university community. "Rob had a unique ability to warmly connect with others whether it was visiting with individuals at Senior Adult Day or leading college students on a ministry team. He enjoyed engaging people and making them smile.
"Missouri Baptist University is a better place for having had Rob Cornwell among its ranks and all of our lives have been enriched for having known Rob. His passion for life, fun-loving spirit and abiding faith will be greatly missed," Ross said.
Mr. Cornwell is survived by his wife, Melissa Haury Cornwell; two children, Lauren Cornwell and Stephen Cornwell; his parents, Robert W. and Mary Frances Cornwell; three sisters, Gail and husband Cecil Brown, Jill Cornwell, and Ellen and husband Bob Parnas; and many nieces and nephews.
The family requests that memorials in his name may be made to Missouri Baptist University.