Monday, February 24, 2020

Cornelia McGinnis, 100

New York City, NY - Cornelia McGinnis, 100, was born April 9, 1919, to Martin B. and Elizabeth (Johnson) McGinnis at the Eleven Mile, PA, the youngest of three daughters.  Winters were difficult in the country and, during that time, Cornelia and her sisters moved into town, Genesee, PA, with family and friends, to attend school, graduating at fifteen.  Education was important and all three sisters graduated from college in the 1930s.  In addition to Genesee High School, Cornelia graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  She pursued graduate studies at Syracuse, Columbia, and New York University.

Cornelia never married, which enabled her to focus over 100% of her energy on her professional life, which included Vice-President, Marvin Schluger, Inc., (a major supplier of precious jewelry to Tiffany, Cartier, and Neiman-Marcus) from which she retired in 1993;  Vice-President, The Diner’s Club,  both in New York City; and President/Owner, John Robert Powers Modeling School, and was a manager of the Arthur Murray Dancing School, both of Washington, DC.

However, there was always time for her true passion – acting and the Theater.  She studied under Wynn Handman, a well-known Acting Instructor and Director.  She was a member of The Snarks, Ltd., a social club, with a tradition of over 110 years in aspects of the theater---acting and production. Cornelia appeared in The Snarks productions and in Off-Off Broadway. She was featured in Life Magazine as she attended the 1953 Eisenhower Inauguration. In New York, she was a communicant at St. John the Evangelist Church.

She celebrated her 100th birthday last April surrounded by family and friends, long-time and new.  The walls were decorated with photos of her over the years.  Everyone was anticipating a Second Act for her 101st, but, sadly, she passed away in the early hours of February 21, 2020.    
She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Mary McGinnis (Leo) Carroll, Wellsville, NY, Catherine L. McGinnis (Charles) Rockett, San Antonio, TX; nephews Robert Rockett and Joseph Rockett, San Antonio, TX.  She is survived by 4 nephews: Paul (Kathleen) Rockett, Sugar Land, TX; Patrick (Stephanie) Rockett, San Antonio, TX; Michael (Christine) Rockett, Santa Cruz, CA; and Charles Rockett, CA;  one niece, Marlee Carroll, Leawood, KS; and several great and great, great nieces and nephews, and her Goddaughter, Georgiana Weddington.

Cornelia’s family is honoring her request that her Final Act be without fanfare or visitation. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am, Saturday, February 29, 2020, at the Immaculate Conception Church, 6 Maple Avenue, Wellsville, NY.  Interment will follow, where she will be laid to rest next to her beloved parents at the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Wellsville, NY.

The family wishes to thank special friends:  Paula Peterson; John Tusa; Jerome Camiola; Catherine Butler, and Sheila Larbi.  Our hearts extend to her dear friend and weekly Rummikub challenger, Coco StClement; and close caretakers, Edith Amparo and Karrell Rumble, who all took shifts to ensure someone who cared about her was with her until the end, so she didn’t have to pass alone. Please consider memorial donations to any charity of the donor's choice. To leave online condolences, please visit

1 comment:

  1. My name is Dennis McGinnis. I live in Houston, TX. My relation to Cornelia is that her Grandfather (also Dennis McGinnis) is my 3rd great uncle. I have recently been doing a lot of Ancestry research and I would have so much enjoyed being able to visit with Cornelia. I had no idea she lived to 100!!! I have so many questions about the family and the times in PA and NY and I am sure she would have had some neat stories to tell.

    To Cornelia's family, I am so sorry for your loss although 100 years sounds like a heck of a life. From reading the obituary it really sounds like Cornelia was a wonderful and interesting person.