Luella Elizabeth Cornell, 71, Baltimore County educator


Luella Elizabeth "Lu Beth" Cornell, who had been principal of three Baltimore County elementary schools, died of Alzheimer's disease complications Saturday at Lutherville's Heart Homes. She was 71.

Born Luella Elizabeth Bivens in Hagerstown and raised in Hancock, she was a 1953 graduate of Boonsboro High School, where her father was principal. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from what is now Towson University.

She began teaching in 1957 in the county public school system and spent her first five years at Villa Cresta Elementary in Parkville. She then spent three years at Pleasant Plains Elementary in Loch Raven Village before being named assistant principal at the Timonium and Lutherville elementary schools.

"She was the kind of educator who called me for 15 years straight the night before the school year started to wish me well," said Joe Regula, who taught with her at two schools. "She embraced the disadvantaged student as well as the influential. She was the consummate professional who had high expectations for all."

He recalled Mrs. Cornell's style of dress "as if she walked out of Talbots' catalog." He also said she had the ability to adapt to the needs of the neighborhoods where she was assigned.

"Whether she was at a school on the Route 7 Rosedale corridor or on the York Road I-83 corridor, she was the same - an advocate for all her students, parents and teachers," he said.

Mrs. Cornell went on to be named principal of Mars Estates, Shady Spring and Carney elementary schools before her retirement about 10 years ago.

"She looked for every opportunity to promote the achievements of her students," said Alan Hill, an appeals and mitigation officer with the Baltimore County Board of Education. "She spent her life being an advocate for children and working with the communities and the PTAs wherever she was assigned."

"She was a firm and hard worker," said Kitty Chin, a dietitian and friend. "She had a remarkable understanding of the needs of her students and, above all, wanted them to learn."

After retirement, Mrs. Cornell continued to sing in the choir at Ascension Evangelical Lutheran, where she served as an assistant minister and where funeral services were held yesterday.

She was an executive board member of Baltimore Symphony Associates and volunteered with the Asian Arts and Culture Center at Towson University. She enjoyed reading and playing the piano. She also studied family and local history and belonged to the Baltimore County Genealogical Society, Historical Society of Baltimore County and Calvert County Historical Society.

Survivors include her husband of 48 years, Evart F. Cornell, a retired educator who had been principal of five Baltimore County elementary schools; a son, Jonathan M. Cornell of Middle River; a daughter, Sara E. Hall of Timonium; a brother, Douglas M. Bivens Jr. of Calvert County; and five grandchildren.

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