Mary Cornwell

Published: 10/28/2016 3:00:16 AM
Modified: 10/28/2016 3:00:27 AM

Exeter, N.H. — On Oct. 3, 2016, Mary Helen Fortmiller Cornwell died unexpectedly at the RiverWoods Community in Exeter, where she had lived for two years. She was 78. The daughter of Paul and Leta Fortmiller, Mary was born March 31, 1938 in Rochester, N.Y. She graduated from Miss Hall’s School in 1956 and Garland Junior College in 1958.

While working on Nantucket Island, Mass., one summer during her college years, she met Gibbons G. Cornwell III. They were married in 1958 and returned to Nantucket for their honeymoon and many family summer vacations. They lived for a year in Cambridge, England, and later on, she and her family also spent a year in Oslo, Norway.  

She was an avid tennis and bridge player, reader, and volunteer. During the 45 years she lived in Lyme, N.H., she was an active member of the community as a ski instructor with the Ford Sayre Ski Program, a member of the Lyme School Board, and a Sunday school teacher. She loved to sing and performed with several choral groups, including the Choir of King’s College in Cambridge, England. She was an enthusiastic Miss Hall’s School alumna and served on their Board of Trustees and, for many years, as her class agent. 

She was predeceased by her husband of 54 years, Dr. Gibbons Gray Cornwell III. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Gray and Kitty Cornwell of Madbury, N.H.; two daughters, Heidi Trout and son-in-law Bruce Trout of Ellicott City, Md.; and Holly Cornwell of Exeter; four grandchildren, Betsy Lyons, Helen Music, and Peter and Ethan Trout; her great-grandson, Brody Music; her sister and brother-in-law, Lola and Charles E Baldwin III of Canaan, N.H.; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 at the Lyme Congregational Church in Lyme. Those wishing to make gifts in Mary’s memory may do so to Miss Hall’s School, Advancement Office, P.O. Box 1166, Pittsfield, MA  01202. An online guest book is available to leave a message of condolence for Mary’s family by visiting

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