Rev. Ward L. (“Skip”) Cornett III Obituary

The Reverend Ward L. Cornett III (known as “Skip” by all), age 75, of Delaware Ohio, has concluded his time with us on Earth. A faithful pastor of the ELCA, committed to issues of Church and Society, social justice, interfaith relations, global affairs, and peace initiatives; Skip passed away in the early morning of July 2, 2023, with his daughter, Lt. Andrea Cornett, USN, and his wife of 42 years, Becky Sutherland Cornett, at his home hospice bedside. An avid swimmer, Skip was shocked to learn he had ALS in August 2022. He kept going as long as he could but accepted his decline with grace.

Skip was born in Beckley WV Feb. 14, 1948, to Margaret Miller Cornett and Ward L. Cornett, Jr. They preceded him in death. He was the oldest of six children. His siblings survive: Marta Gilliam, Christy Bailey, Marcia McKinney (Danny), Kirk William “Bill” Cornett (Renee), and Beth Spears. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Bruce A. Sutherland (Teresa). and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, colleagues, and friends.

A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, he spent one year at Marshall University prior to enlisting in the Coast Guard, serving as a Boatswain’s Mate 3. A proud veteran, Pastor Cornett’s cremated remains will be buried at sea by the Coast Guard.

After discharge, Skip went on to be graduated from Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and then went to seminary (first Gettysburg Seminary and then Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago). He served parishes in Stevensville, Michigan, Cranberry Twp., Pennsylvania, Gaithersburg MD; and Gahanna Ohio before joining Trinity Lutheran Seminary as Director of Continuing Education. During that time, he earned the Master of Sacred Theology (STM) degree at Trinity. He also served in numerous interim pastor roles, the last one St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Delaware OH.

He was most proud of his master’s degree in political science earned online before online degrees were common, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

Skip served on numerous committees and held leadership roles that demonstrated his passion and committed service. He received the following recognitions in the past several years:

  • In November 2015, Skip was recognized by the Jewish Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Columbus for his “years of leadership on the annual Community Kristallnacht Commemoration, his continual efforts to educate and raise awareness about the Holocaust, and his support of the Columbus Jewish Community.”
  • National James Maxstadt Distinguished Volunteer for 2022, Churches for Middle East Peace.
  • Karen Dawson Interfaith Leadership Award in Recognition of Outstanding Service and Leadership, 2022, Interfaith Association of Central Ohio (IACO).
  • Recognized by the Delaware Ohio “Great Decisions” Committee for his service as Chair through the COVID period with the Skip Cornett Annual Great Decisions Lecture, which will be the first lecture of the series going forward.

Skip also enjoyed photography, rescuing dogs (7), and classical music. He was a kind, loving, and courageous person, who will be missed by many.

Becky and Andrea Cornett will greet family, friends, neighbors and colleagues at a visitation and reception at Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center, 101 Valleyside Drive, Delaware OH., on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. There will be no public funeral.

Memorial suggestions: Churches for Middle East Peace; Interfaith Association of Central Ohio, the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy at Marshall University; Political Science Department at Virginia Tech; Promise for Life Remember bricks – Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University.

Memories and condolences may be expressed at