Cover photo for Earl Christopher Cornish's Obituary
Earl Christopher Cornish Profile Photo
1935 Earl 2023

Earl Christopher Cornish

January 29, 1935 — September 26, 2023

A MAN OF AMAZING INTEGRITY

Earl Christopher Cornish, Jr. was born to Earl Christopher Cornish, Sr, and Olive Louise (Whalen) Cornish on January 29, 1935, at 4:20 pm, in Abington, PA.

Earl Christopher Cornish, Sr entered the U.S. Army during World War II and, due to the illness of his mother, Earl Jr. spent his formative years on the tough streets of Philadelphia. Fortunately, he was an exceptional athlete, excelling in track and field, as well as spending a short stint in a boxing gym, where he learned to use his fists to protect himself from the perils of gang violence.

While in high school, at the age of 17, Earl’s mother passed away. As a result, Earl Jr, the eldest of four siblings, including Peggy, Ronnie, and Guy, moved in with their paternal grandmother whom they loved dearly and referred to as “Nana”.

Earl Jr left high school before graduating to join the U.S. Air Force, only after having received the signature from his reluctant father. A parent’s signature was required by all enlistees under 18 and, as Earl explained, “dad saw horrific violences in World War II that he never spoke about to anyone.” He didn’t want his underaged, greatly athletic, and highly intelligent son to enter what he knew would become a horrific Korean War. Earl, determined to leave the warlike-torn streets of Philadelphia and see the world, was able to convince his father to give his permission as well as his blessings. After enlisting on July 8, 1952, and completing a rigorous bootcamp with workouts that enhanced his disciplined athletic nature, Earl was shipped to the U.S. Air Force Base in the United Kingdom.

Earl’s military service took him to London, where he witnessed first-hand Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation on June 2, 1953. While working on assignment to Communications in the Air Force, Earl’s athletics portfolio caught the eye of the Major General of the USAF and the National Playing Fields Association. He was drafted to play the left end position for the United States Air Force Football Team (USAFE), the London Rockets in Europe.

During the 1954 Season, Earl Cornish, Jr, known as the “Philadelphia flash”, earned the reputation of being a great clutch performer all season and was particularly outstanding in the semi-final clash with Landstuhl in the championship battle on November 27, 1954. During a game where the London Rockets faced the Chaumont Mudhens in Chaumont, France, he made circus catches all over the field against the befuddled defenders and scored twice in London’s 25-0 victory. Cornish, the young man with the big stride, caught seven touchdowns to become the highest-scoring end in the UK for the ’54 season, as reported in the Army, Navy, Air Force Daily News.

Earl Cornish was being encouraged by all who knew him to apply to play inter-collegiate football at any college throughout the United States. Wayne M. Parsley, Major USAF, wrote on

September 29, 1954, “Earl Cornish is a very gregarious person and, in my view, has the ambition

 

to extend his education and football career. It is therefore recommended that this letter is used

by the bearer to introduce himself to the officials of any school of his selection.”

Earl Cornish, Jr played as an outstanding champion in all four football championship games before leaving the service on July 7, 1956, with an Honorable discharge. After being discharged, Earl Cornish settled in Colorado, a state with beautiful mountains, clean air, and open land whereby he could enjoy running, golf, skiing, hunting, fishing, and camping.

Earl made his home all over Colorado. In Denver, he found a social and nightclub life that afforded him the opportunity to mingle with other African Americans on the dance floor as well as the nearby ski-slopes. Earl was a long-time member of Denver’s Premier African American Slippers-N-Sliders Ski Club.

Earl accepted a full athletic scholarship to Colorado State University, then known as Colorado A & M. Earl was a trickster who ran the 220 yard-dash and the low hurdles where he broke many state and national records. He also played on both the defensive and offensive teams for the CSU Football Aggies. Earl began a professional football career in the early 1960s after being drafted by the Green Bay Packers under the legendary coach Vince Lombardi. However, when Coach Lombardi asked Earl to go to Canada to Green Bay’s Specialist Camp for one year. Earl refused the opportunity to continuously play for Green Bay, because he did not make enough money to move his young family to Canada. Earl made the difficult decision to leave football behind to pursue his passion for geology and to raise his twin daughters Helena and Elisa, and his son, Carlton, with his first wife, Frances.

For several years, Earl worked as a geologist at The Colorado School of Mines Research Foundation in Golden, Colorado, before joining an oil exploration firm as a general partner, igniting his entrepreneurial spirit. In the early 1970s, he founded Diversified Manufacturing Corporation (DMC) in the heart of Denver’s inner city and expanded it to San Leandro, CA. Earl understood the economic challenges faced by his employees and devised innovative solutions to support his workforce and the company’s success. Earl’s first marriage ended after 15 years.

Ten years later, on that fateful Saturday night, October 20, 1984, Earl asked Sherdyne to the dance floor, it would be the very first time they had ever seen each other. Over the 39 years of their life together, Earl and Sherdyne Cornish often reminisced over the joy and happiness of an uninterrupted love affair full of romance, and devotion. Their marriage was a blessing from God with a special love sent to the both of them from heaven.

Earl co-founded the non-profit Academic Skills School Program along with his wife Sherdyne. Their mission was to empower teachers and students by enhancing the effective use of technology in mathematics instruction. In 2008-2009, Earl and Sherdyne opened the only Obama for President Office in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, earning them an invitation from the Presidential Inaugural Committee requesting the honor of presence to attend and participate in the Inauguration of Barack H. Obama as President of the United States of America and Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as Vice President of the United States of America. In 2018, Earl and Sherdyne co-


founded Cornish Adult Day Care Center for Disabled Veterans and Adults, their mission being to service and advocate for the disabled.

Earl loved music. Classic soul ballads, rhythm and blues, smooth jazz, and soulful gospel were among his favorites. His favorite dance song that ignited within him joyful moves on the dance floor was “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton. Earl was an avid reader of all books, specifically books on history, war, technology, business, Black history, mathematics, and science. The book he was reading before his death was The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Earl Cornish, a man of amazing integrity and character, left a legacy of love to his family and others who knew him. He was a devoted grandfather who never missed his grandchildren’s athletic competitions and beamed with pride as they excelled in music, pre-collegiate, competitive sports, and sports at the collegiate level. At the same time, Earl took an active role in helping to raise Sherdyne’s two young boys, DeAndre and Cleophus (Cle). Earl and Cle fell in

love with each other on site. He became Cle’s role model. Teaching Cle to ride a bike, drive a car, attending his back-to-school conferences, instilling in him a sense of hard work in both academics and sports. He taught him to never give up on his life goals, no matter what

difficulties life put in his path. As Earl aged and his illness claimed his strength, Cle became Earl’s right hand man, traveling on the train with his mom and Earl to the West Coast, to places he had promised his family to go for years, and back home to Philadelphia/ New Jersey/Washington

D.C. to visit Earl’s siblings and two nieces. Cle actively participated in the home care program

established for Earl at the close of his life.

Earl Christopher Cornish, Jr. is survived by his beloved wife, Sherdyne Cornish; daughters, Helena Urban and Elisa Cornish; sons, Carlton Cornish, DeAndre Carroll, and Cleophus Morris; seven grandchildren: Nichole Urban, Danielle Teixeira, Landon Urban, Wynne Clayton Jr., Valery Clayton, Miles Clayton, and Emma Ray Anne Davis-Carroll. Earl also leaves behind three great- grandchildren, Abigail Teixeira, Issic Teixeira, and Cloey Teixeira; his brother, Guy Cornish; his first wife, Frances Farris Bailey; his aunt Lillian Cornish; two nieces, Christina Lemond & Tanya Nichols; and a host of relatives and friends.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Earl Christopher Cornish, please visit our flower store.
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Saturday, October 21, 2023

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