Cover photo for Melvin Duane Cornwell's Obituary
Melvin Duane Cornwell Profile Photo
1939 Melvin 2023

Melvin Duane Cornwell

January 22, 1939 — January 2, 2023


     Melvin Duane Cornwell, 83 of Spencer, IA passed away Monday, Jan.2 @the Lakeside Care Center in Emmetsburg, IA.  He was born in rural Gillett Grove, Iowa on Jan 22, 1939.  Melvin was the 4th child of 6th born to Chester and Sylvia (Moore) Cornwell. He graduated from Gillett Grove High school in the class of 1956.  He then served with the Iowa National Guard for 6 years.

      He met his wife, Karen West, at the roller-skating rink in Arnolds Park, Iowa and they were united in marriage on Sept. 2, 1967 at Merrill, Iowa.  From this union two children were born, Mark Cornwell and Lynda Cornwell.   All of his life Mel farmed east of Gillett Grove and took great pride in his work. He was especially proud that his son, Mark came to farm with him. Mel was a hardworking man, who loved his family deeply and cherished the time he spent with them.  When asked if he had any hobbies, he replied “Farming”.  He drove a South Clay school bus and loved seeing all the kids.

     After retiring in 2011 and moving to Spencer, he especially enjoyed his coffee time every morning with his friends at Sisters Mainstreet Cafe and Hy Vee.  He was a loyal member of Community Methodist Church; Gillett Grove and he valued his faith.  He served on the Methodist Church Board, South Clay School Board and on the board of the Farm Credit Association.  Mel and Karen enjoyed dancing to Rock and Roll at the Iowa Great Lakes.

     He was preceded in death by his parents Chester and Sylvia, Father and Mother in laws Fletcher and Wilma West, Brother Gordon Cornwell, in Laws: Don Hurley, Gwen Cornwell, niece Cindy Kassel, great niece & nephew Lacey and Luke Rouse and beloved nephew, Jerry Johnson.

     Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 55 years, Karen, Son Mark and Tonya Cornwell of Dickens, grandchildren Kayla Cornwell (Kelbey Isack) and Jenna Cornwell, Brookings SD daughter: Lynda Cornwell, Spencer, grandchildren Jordan Cornwell and Jack Winburn of Sioux Falls.  Great grandson Noah Cornwell, Sioux Falls. Sisters:  Ann Hurley, Emmetsburg, Marilyn Price, Tulsa, OK, Cheryl Coryea (Richard Devlin) Rochester, MN Brother, Lowell Cornwell, Ft. Dodge, IA.  Brother and Sister-in-law Gail and Jennifer West, Miami, Florida.  Many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will take place 10:30 A.M., Friday, January 6, at Hope Reformed Church in Spencer.
*The service will be livestreamed on
Pastor Donna Gray
Joe LeClair
Gary Johanningmeier
Brad Price
Jaden Erb
Jack Winburn
Jay Edington
Noah Cornwell
Mark Cornwell
Danny Peterson
Visitation will take place one hour prior to the service at the church
"Surely The Presence"
"Here I Am Lord"
Riverside Cemetery
Spencer, Iowa
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Melvin Duane Cornwell, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 78

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree