Kerry Cornelius lived his life both flying high, and flying under the radar.
The successful St. Catharines businessman, who founded swimming pool manufacturing company Cornelius Industries in 1967, died in October 2017 of Parkinson’s Disease. But in his spare time, the lowkey and humble philanthropist, who lived simply and seldom wanted attention called to his generosity, was also a championship-winning aerobatics aviator, flying his bi-wing plane in competitions in the USA and Canada.
His wife, Barbara, said they had both discussed how they could have an impact on the community, so after his death and after talking with their children, Barbara established the KERRY AND BARBARA CORNELIUS AND FAMILY FUND with a $1 million gift to the Niagara Community Foundation.
The fund will be permanently endowed, said Barbara, and the Cornelius children, David, Kathleen, and Kristeen, will be able to have input in deciding the causes that will benefit.
Kerry was “an all-around humble man, who never bragged about anything,” Barbara said. He was an accomplished athlete, artist and musician, and a self-confessed adrenalin-junkie who competed in motorcycle hill-climbing competitions and raced fast cars, but “he wasn’t a joiner, he never really exposed himself to the community.” Yet he cared deeply for Niagara and the people and institutions that make this a wonderful community, Barbara said.
Kerry would also appreciate knowing that the gift made in his family’s name will not only benefit good causes, but also has the ability to inspire generosity in generations to come.