Suzanne Cornell – Jan. 25

Suzanne Paula Cornell, aged 62, died unexpectedly from a stroke in her ancestral home in Chemung, NY. Her family and friends are still reeling from the shock, and ask for your patience as we learn to live in a world without her grounding presence.

Suzanne was born to Joan Marie Moran Cornell and Richard Warren Cornell on April 28th, 1960 in Elmira, NY. She had fond memories of early years spent in France with her family, but spent much of her childhood living in Pelham, New York, where she attended Pelham Memorial High School. She had a triple major as an undergraduate at Eisenhower Memorial College, but had to leave before the completion of her degree. In 1988, she and husband Angus MacDonald had their son, Gregory. Shortly after their separation 5 years later, she returned to school to become a licensed practitioner of Chinese Medicine at the Pacific Institute of Oriental Medicine in Manhattan. Some 20 years later still, she returned to college a third time at Binghamton University to become a nurse. She spent the last years of her life helping those in need in psychiatric care units throughout the Elmira/Binghamton/Sayre area.

An obligatory list of schools and locations does not, however, suffice to paint an accurate picture of Suzanne as her friends and family knew her. She was many things through her life: an artist and art teacher. A survivor of trauma. A mohawk-sporting punk in the 80’s Lower-East Side. A bouncer in Hell’s Kitchen. A chef. An incredible mother to her son, as well as anyone she met who needed a mother in their life. A spiritual guide, a fighter against injustice, and a healer in everything that she did, Suzanne’s fierce and boundless love changed the lives of any who spent time with her. She was a woman of principle, a warrior. She fought for anyone who needed a champion, spoke up when others stayed silent, protected any who could not protect themselves. She was an extraordinary woman, a brilliant thinker, and one of the kindest, most loving beings to ever walk this earth.

Suzanne Cornell is preceded in death by her father, Richard “Dick” Warren Cornell. She is survived by her mother Joan Cornell (Pelham, NY), her elder brother Gregory Cornell (Chemung, NY), her eldest sister Natalie Cornell (Philadelphia, PA), her son Gregory MacDonald (Kingston, NY), the many others who called her “mom”, and the many more she counted as friends. She lives on in the countless hearts she touched through her extraordinary life. The world is darker for her passing, but it is up to us who remain to tend the blazing light that she once carried. May we all be so kind, so loving, so selfless, and so fiercely steadfast in the face of injustice. May we all fight for a better world, as she did.

In lieu of gifts or flowers, we ask that you instead make a donation in Suzanne’s honor to one of the charitable organizations below.

Indigenous Environmental Network:

Planned Parenthood:

Native American Rights Fund:

Editor’s note: This obituary was provided by the family.