Jack Hunt Cornelius, 76, Freeport, Florida, passed away June 28, 2018, unexpectedly and peacefully, while at home.
Jack was born January 24, 1942, in Plant City, Florida, in his grandparents’ home, also his mother’s birthplace.
His parents were Paul and Marion (Breuggeman) Cornelius, of Homestead, Florida. He married his college sweetheart, Mary Leckie (while still in college), of Piedmont, South Carolina, on September 1, 1963, in Savannah, Georgia.
Jack completed his education at Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, in June, 1964, receiving a BS degree in Horticulture. Mary attended Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina. Following graduation, Jack was
commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. After additional training, he was posted to South Korea, where he served the balance of his three-year service obligation. Jack and Mary’s son, Paul, was born while still at
Clemson. Immediately following his tour of service, the young family moved to Homestead, Florida, where Jack began his career in vegetable farming with Cornelius & Sons, a family enterprise owned and operated by his uncle, Jack Cornelius, and his grandmother, Marguerite Cornelius.
He ultimately bought this business from his uncle and grandmother and operated it until he ended its operations after Hurricane Andrew in September, 1992. Later, Jack accepted an offer from his brother, Jim, to join a building materials wholesaler, which Jim had co-founded, and was headquartered near Birmingham, Alabama. He started work in the Atlanta office, and later moved to Destin, Florida, where he helped establish a new location for the company. Jack retired there after ten years’ service.
Jack is survived by his always-loving and beloved wife of 54 years, Mary, his brothers, Ben (Karen) of Hayesville, NC, Jim (Sandy) of Panama City Beach, FL, Tom (Nancy) of Mt Dora, FL, and Mike (Robin) of Otto, NC, his sister, Elizabeth of Coos Bay, OR, his uncle, Bob (Karen) of Homestead, FL, his brothers-in-law, Leon (Betty) Leckie, of Piedmont, SC, John (Lois) Leckie, of Marietta, GA, Joe (Betty) Leckie, of Greenville, SC, Bill Leckie, of Ft Worth, TX, his sisters-in-law, Nancy (Gary) Abbott, of Columbia, SC, Thelma (Lonnie) Gunter, of Greenville, SC, and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, and beloved son, Paul.
It was unanimously agreed by his brothers that Jack was his mother’s favorite son. He loved playing golf, fishing, and just plain old being out on the ocean. We will always carry your memory in our hearts. A memorial service for immediate family members is being planned for the near future.