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Gary Neil Cornelius

October 1, 1949 ~ June 13, 2021 (age 71)


Mr. Gary Neil Cornelius, age 71, departed this life on June 13, 2021 at his home in Bailey Switch.  Gary was born on October 1, 1949 to Dolan and Marilyn (Harris) Cornelius in Jackson County, KY. 

 He attended Union College in Barbourville, KY where he graduated with a degree in music, playing both piano and trombone.  Gary was a retired band director and music educator in both Knox and Laurel counties.  He also worked as a salesman and business owner in Clinton, TN.

Gary loved to laugh and entertain people with his stories.  He was a phenomenal cook and liked to experiment and test new recipes on his family.  The light of his life were his grandchildren, and he bragged about them to anyone who would listen.  He was always ready with a story about Jordan, Layla, or Cash.

Gary is preceded in death by his parents, Dolan and Marilyn Cornelius and his son, James Dolan Cornelius.  He is survived by his daughter Lisa Cornelius of Knoxville, TN; his daughter-in-law Valerie Cornelius of Middlesboro, Ky; his three grandchildren, Jordan Jones of Knoxville, TN, Layla Cornelius and James Cassius Cornelius, both of Middlesboro, KY; two brothers, Jerry (Carolyn) Cornelius of Ohio and Julian (Vickie) Cornelius of Tennessee; several nieces and nephews.  He leaves behind many other friends and family to mourn his passing.

Gary has requested that there be no public funeral service.  In lieu of flowers and to honor his life, you may make a donation to the Children’s Music Fund ( in his memory.


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