Transportation 20

Donald W. Cornell

June 9, 1937 ~ January 28, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old
Obituary Image

Donald Cornell Obituary


Donald Wilbur Cornell, 86, passed away peacefully on January 28, 2024, in Catskill, with his daughter, Lacey and beloved cat, Hugo at his side.

Don was born June 9, 1937, in Colchester, NY, the son of Wilbur Cornell and Evelyn Cornell-Bellinger. He went to Gilboa-Conesville Central School. He enlisted in the Navy in 1954, and worked on an aircraft carrier performing aircraft maintenance. He received an honorable discharge in 1958.

He was predeceased by his wife, Kendra Cornell, on May 30, 2022. They were married on April 16, back in the good ole days, and were together almost 50 years.

A trucker from the start, he took his first job at the age of 14, taking a load of logs to the Mill for Rikard Logging. This began a life-long career of flatbed, concrete and dump truck driving. During that time, he worked for the town of Conesville with his Father in-law, Alton, and his son, Donnie. He also worked out of the port of Rensselaer for many years, until retiring in 2004.

Donald, AKA "Sunshine" or "Grandpa Grizzly" always enjoyed a nice ride on his '61 trike. Most of all, he loved taking his kids for rides in his truck, so they could count deer with him and look at the Catskill mountains. At the end of the day you could find him with a cold beer in his hand, listening to Willie, Waylon, Johnny, or Merle.

Sunshine loved yodeling, playing guitar, singing, and hog callin'. He could always be found wearing a red bandana, his long hair in a ponytail. He even won a Willie Nelson look-a-like contest. A Harley Davidson man to the core, he only ever wore Harley shirts with the sleeves cut out, and loved when people brought him one from the places they visited.

He was a man of few words, but the life of the party. He was quick with a joke and faster with a comeback. Sunny-isms, as his wife, Kendra, called them, were his specialty. "See you in the spring if you get through the mattress," "Euthanasianize" and "Shumani Tutanka Owachi, uno momento por favor" are a few that come to mind.

Sunshine always did things in his own time. If you tried to rush him, he'd tell you, "Don't screw with the grown-ups!" He will be missed by all.

He is survived by his children: Zane G. Cornell (Dawn Kuzma) and Travis D. Cornell (Aurora Cornell) of Conesville, Lacey A. Cornell of Halfmoon; daughters: Patricia Henderson and Evelyn Potsdam of Memphis, TN; brothers: Robert Bellinger, Richard Bellinger; sisters: Marjorie Dames and Jo Ann Haskin; grandchildren: Morgan (Scott), Marshall (Jessica), and Haley Cornell, Alaina (Kyle) Proudman, Shawn, Pat and James Kuzma, Zane Michael, Jacob G., Dalton Bear and Layla Cornell; great-grandchildren: Hunter Van, Ava Noel and Saryn Elise Cornell, Riley, Gunner and Waylon Proudman; several nieces and nephews; many life-long friends, and his beloved cats Hugo and Juno.

Don was predeceased by his mother: Evelyn Cornell-Bellinger and step-father: Clifton Bellinger and his father: Wilbur Cornell; brother: Gordon Cornell; sister: Joan Greeley; children: Donald James and Julie Kim Cornell and their mother: Betty Jean Dvorak: son: Donald Carl and his mother: Wilamena and several close biker friends.                  

All are invited to visit with Don's family on Saturday, February 3, 2024, from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM at Coltrain Funeral Home, LLC, 134 River St., Middleburgh, NY. Visiting hours will conclude with a short memorial service. A celebration of life will follow, at the Prattsville Hotel, 14560 Main Street, Prattsville, NY, from 3:00 until closing.  A private interment, with Military Honors will be held in the spring in Manorkill Cemetery.

In honor of Sunshine's love for animals, his family respectfully requests memorials be sent to Steve Caporizzo's Pet Connection, 341 Northern Boulevard, Albany, NY 12204.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald W. Cornell, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Donald W. Cornell?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Donald's memory.


February 3, 2024

11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Coltrain Funeral Home, LLC
134 River Street
Middleburgh, NY 12122

Celebration of Life
February 3, 2024

3:00 PM
Prattsville Hotel
14560 Main Street
Prattsville, NY 12468


© 2024 Coltrain Funeral Home, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility