A good man who lived his life the way he wanted, bound not by society's rules, constraints and norms would aptly describe Daniel Thomas Cornell. He was born in Brooklyn, New York on Feb. 11, 1947 to a Brooklyn native, John Cornell and a farm girl from the country, Edna May Lewis. The vast difference in his parents' background helped create a unique boy from the very beginning. At an early age, Dan and his parents moved to rural Newton, New Jersey to be close to Edna's family. There he was educated at local schools and his brother Jack and sister Kathy were born.
His mother died when Dan was a young boy and that forever impacted his life. Edna was an avid reader and she certainly passed that on to her son. Dan's house today is filled with books and it is our guess that every one of them was read. He had a passion for history, with World War II being the subject that he extensively perused.
Dan enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a Crew Chief on a Chinook helicopter during the Vietnam Conflict. He was honorably discharged in 1971, and at that time he moved to San Francisco where he lived in a commune in the Haight Ashbury District. In 1975, he took advantage of the GI Bill and moved to Bozeman, Montana, where he pursued his love of architecture at Montana State University. He never completed that degree but instead went on to learn the trade of carpentry and house painting. His love for color and the Painted Ladies of San Francisco are reflected in the painting patterns of the historic homes of Butte. He boldly envisioned and began painting these historic homes to show off their beautiful architecture and design. His home today, which he designed and built, showcases his beliefs regarding the beauty of the palette.
In 1992, Dan once again enrolled at MSU and completed degrees in Art and Science. He was employed by the Butte School District after his graduation in 1994. Many of his students will give testimony to Dan's passion for the Arts, as well as his unyielding devotion to those he taught. He retired in 2014, and spent the next years doing all the things he loved best: creating art through a variety of mediums, adventure motorcycling on his BMW with friends and his sons, exploring the world and its wonders, building a greenhouse and learning the art of gardening, planting a yard full of sunflowers, and spending more time with his children and grandchildren and teaching them about all of the above. His latest love was Layla, a little red mutt whom he adored and a companion that travelled wherever he went. Layla was by his side as he passed on from this earth, peacefully in his sleep.
As his mother greatly influenced him, so did he influence his children who survive him and will forever miss him: Dang Cam Tu, Robbie Cornell, Addie May Cornell Karch (Paul), Seth Lewis Cornell (Kelly), Alexii Caroline Cornell (Shane Rummel) and Andrew Daniel Cornell. His grandchildren adored Gramps. We know that their wonderful memories of him will always go with them: Tina (Brandon), Catherine and Caroline Ngo, Steven Le, Sloan and Lex Blaze Wilson, Brooklyn and Harlyn Rummel, and Elijah Karch.
Dan loved being an integral part of the Butte Art Community and Movement. To celebrate this love and his life, a celebration and reception will be held at the Phoenix Building, 66 W. Park St., on Friday evening, April 14, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family would request memorials in remembrance of Dan be made to the Imagine Butte Resource Center, 66 W. Park St., Butte, Montana 59701.
Express condolences at www.wayrynen-richards.com.