Paul Martin Cornell

Second President of AHA, 2002-2006

Paul was born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1927, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and died in April 2014 in Worcester, Pennsylvania. The son of Pastor Martin Luther Cornell and Elsa Olson Cornell, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II and after the war attended the University of Minnesota, Upsala College, and Augustana College where he received an A.B. degree in 1949.

Paul married Betty Lance, a resident of Rock Island, in 1952. They raised two children, Stephen and Melissa, and five grandchildren.

A graduate of Augustana Seminary, Paul was ordained June 14, 1953, at Immanuel Church, Chicago. He served two parishes before being called to the Board of Parish Education in Philadelphia in 1960. The first was Calvary, Bustleton, PA (1953-1955) and then St. Matthew, Mt. Jewett, PA (1956-1960).

The Board of Parish Education became the Division for Parish Services in 1972. During his tenure, Paul served in a variety of capacities. He was Director of Camping and Outdoor Ministry (1960-1965). From 1966 to 1972, he worked in the areas of Mental Retardation and Parish Education. From 1972 to 1980, he was part of the PLMD (Parish Life and Ministry Development) emphasis of the LCA. In 1980, he became Director of Evangelical Outreach, a post he held until the merger in 1988. Following his work at DPS, Paul returned to what he loved most, parish ministry, by serving for a number of years as an interim pastor in both the Southeastern Pennsylvania and Northeastern Pennsylvania Synods. In all, he served 15 congregations in the two synods.

Paul was heavily involved in things Swedish. From 1986 to 1994, he was chairman of the Board of the Swedish-American Museum in Philadelphia. In 1993, King Carl XVI Gustaf awarded him the Order of the Polar Star, First Class, an award that is granted to persons who are not Swedish citizens for their significant contributions to the Swedish community. Paul is a member of the Swedish Council of America and served as its chairman from 2000 to 2004.

For forty-nine years, Paul and Betty lived in a splendid old Pennsylvania home built in 1771 in Collegeville, PA. They called it “Spreading Oaks”. It was a gathering place for their family and many, many friends who, over the years, enjoyed their magnificent and generous hospitality.

Paul was a Founder of AHA. He was instrumental in organizing the Gathering held at Lake Chautauqua, NY, in 1998, to celebrate the heritage of Augustana. It was there that it was decided additional gatherings should be held. Thus, in 2000, a Gathering was held in Rock Island, where AHA was formally instituted and it was decided to schedule gatherings every two years. Paul’s energy and dedication to AHA, in large part, made it what it is today.

Paul Cornell's Obituary.