Leslie A. Cornell Jr., 68, of Greencastle died after a long illness Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009 at St. Vincent Seton Specialty Hospital in Indianapolis.
He was born Oct. 4, 1940 in St. Louis, the son of Leslie and Ella Mae Page Cornell. A graduate of Glen Cove High School in Long Island, N.Y., he attended Worchester Polytechnical Institute, where he studied electrical engineering and played on the varsity football team. After two years, he transferred to CW Post College of Long Island University, where he received his B.S. of biology in 1963.
Mr. Cornell married Cynthia Louise Edelstein on Long Island in 1963, partnering in a life of studying, teaching, travel, archaeological excavation, parenting and caring for their aging parents and one another. She survives and continues as a professor of English at DePauw University.
Upon graduation, he served as a researcher at the USDA in Albany, Calif., a college preparatory boarding school in Claremont. While there, after discovering paleontology in the Mojave Desert and the Grand Canyon, and the monuments of ancient Greece and Rome on his first European tour, he began post-graduate work in classical archaeology at Pomona College.
In 1968, he enrolled in graduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia, receiving his MA in art history and archaeology in 1972 and his PhD in 1980. In 1969-70, he was named an archaeological fellow at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem.
In 1975, he and his wife moved to Greencastle, and in 1978 he began teaching classical archaeology and Latin at DePauw as an adjunct instructor. At that time, he introduced the first classical archaeology courses into the DePauw curriculum. He continued teaching as an adjunct professor of classical studies until 1999, when ill health forced him to retire.
Cornell's work as an archaeologist took him on many excavations in Israel from 1969 to 1986, where he supervised the uncovering of Hellenistic and Roman ruins at Tel Anafa in upper Galilee and Biblical ruins at Tel Gezer in central Israel. He has published on the Hellenistic red-ware pottery uncovered at Tel Anafa.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a sister, Carol Cornell Herdt and husband Tim of Santa Cruz, Calif.; son Ian Leslie Cornell of Greencastle; two nephews; one niece; three great-nephews; and four great-nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, April 4 at 4 p.m., location to be announced. Inurnment will be at Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle.
Chandler-Hays Funeral Home in Greencastle is handling arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.