In Memory

Patricia Ann Theisen (Cornell)

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11/11/21 10:56 AM #1    

Arthur M Dittert


Patricia Ann Cornell, age 75, of Westland, MI passed away unexpectedly on 1/22/21 while undergoing a routine medical procedure. Pat was born 12/27/45 in Cleveland, OH. Shortly thereafter, she was adopted by Harold and Mavis Theisen and raised in their loving home with older brother Peter and younger brother William. After graduating from Shaker Heights High School, she married Edward P. Cornell in 1966. They had three children: Joseph in 1970, Carl in 1972 and Pamela in 1976. During this time, Pat also earned her Bachelors degree in Sociology from Edgewood College in Madison, WI and her Masters in Special Education from the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY. Pat was very involved in her childrens education and volunteered in many capacities. When Pat and Ed divorced in 1987, she began working outside of the home as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence at the Center for Nonviolence in Ft. Wayne, IN. She then shifted to the education realm as a teacher of special needs students at Homestead High School and St. John Catholic School (also in Ft. Wayne). Throughout this period, she was also active in the local chapter of the Learning Disabilities Association of Indiana. In 1995, Pat moved to Pensacola, FL where shed spent many summers as a child visiting her maternal grandmother and other family. Shortly thereafter, she reunited with her biological father, Frank McCarthy of Tega Cay, SC and then her biological mother Doris Paulitsch of Chagrin Falls, OH. She was overjoyed to extend her family and from then on stayed connected. While Pat loved the warm climate, southern culture and white sand beaches, after several years her grandchildren became an even greater draw. Pat moved back to Ft. Wayne in 2004. She continued her passions by tutoring students, facilitating support and education programming for survivors of domestic violence and serving on the Board of Directors for Fifth Freedom, a disability advocacy organization. Pats efforts were formally recognized when, in October 2011, she received the Outstanding Service to Victims of Domestic Violence Award from the Wells County Domestic Violence Task Force. In 2016, Pat moved to Westland, MI to be closer to her four grandchildren. She kept busy by regularly attending their school functions and extracurricular activities and hosting family dinners. Pat is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Peter and William and half-brother William McCarthy. She is survived by her brother David Paulitsch, sister Linda Mathis, sister Gail Butler, half-sister Penny Lacovonne, half-sister Mitzi Borkowski, half-brother Robert McCarthy and half-sister Pattie Johannes, three children Joseph, Carl and Pamela (Allen), daughter-in-law Jennifer, son-in-law Robert and four grandchildren William (18), Henry (15), Julia (14) and Jacob (11). Pats kindness, patience and compassion was evident to everyone with whom she interacted. Yet, she could also be a fierce advocate when it came to ensuring the rights and needs of others. She made this world a better place and will be missed tremendously by many. Given the pandemic and related restrictions, there are no immediate services. Rather, gatherings celebrating Pats life will be held in the late spring in Cleveland and/ or Ft. Wayne. Per her wishes, Pats final resting place will be Pensacola and a service is planned there for early August. Anyone who would like to be notified of the final arrangements can e-mail their contact information. In the meantime, in lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Pats memory be directed to the Center for Nonviolence (

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