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Gary Hafner Cornog

April 16, 1943 ~ February 24, 2024 (age 80) 80 Years Old

Gary Cornog Obituary

Gary Hafner Cornog

“O all the instruments agree

The day of his death was a dark cold day”

W.H. Auden

Gary Cornog died of a heart attack while watching his beloved Tar Heels on February 24, 2024. Gary was born in Chicago to William and Ruth Cornog on April 16, 1943. He lived with his parents and older brother, Michael in Philadelphia, until they moved to Winnetka, Illinois, where he attended Skokie School and graduated from New Trier High School in 1961. He then attended Columbia College of Columbia University, majoring in government and graduating in 1965. He volunteered for what was then called VISTA, now AmeriCorps, working on the Spokane Indian Reservation, directing food banks and coaching basketball. After leaving VISTA, he received a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Chicago.

In 1969, he joined the admissions office at Columbia, eventually becoming Director of Admissions in 1978. During one admissions recruiting trip, he became reacquainted with a childhood friend, Eleanor Wagner; they fell immediately in love and within a week Eleanor moved to New York City to live with Gary. They were married in 1976.

Gary and Eleanor moved to the Millbrook School in 1980 and quickly became enamored of boarding school life. Gary was the College Advisor and the Head of the English Department. Their daughter, Megan was born in 1981. After ten years at Millbrook, they moved to St. George’s School, Newport, Rhode Island in 1990, where again Gary was College Advisor and taught English, eventually becoming English Department Chair. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching and having re-read Moby Dick, became more than a little obsessed with the novel and the author. His Tales of the Sea (mostly Moby Dick) became a popular course at St. George’s and continued to provide  great reward through introducing his students to the joys of all things Melville. After the death of their beautiful and accomplished daughter, they retired to the Chapel Hill area that they had gotten to know while Megan attended UNC. He greatly enjoyed living in North Carolina. He was a man of elegance, refinement, taste and understatement. His friends and family appreciated his knowledge and love of literature, music, art and good food and a good IPA. He was an accomplished chef and singer. He will be remembered for his rapier wit and his humility. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, his brothers, Michael and Evan, his son-in-law, Eric Moe, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Margaret and Eric Dahl and several nieces and nephews and a great niece and nephews

Those wishing to make a contribution in Gary’s name can donate to: ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood or any charity that is dear to the donor’s heart.

Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory are honored to serve the Cornog family.

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