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Friday, June 5 News

Longtime Fairfielder turns 102

FAIRFIELD — A longtime Fairfield resident turned 102 last week.

Bill Cornell, a Sturges Ridge resident, celebrated his 102nd birthday among friends and family last Wednesday. Cornell has lived in Fairfield since 1955, and two of his three children are still residents in town.

“Fairfield’s a really good town,” Cornell said, musing that it hasn’t changed too much in his over 60 years.

The town’s biggest transformation, he said, was the destruction caused by 2012 Hurricane Sandy and the rebuilding that followed. A longtime beach resident, he began fixing up his damaged house the very next day.

Throughout his long life, Cornell worked as a lumberman and a pilot, flying B-24 Liberators for the Air Force. After his own Air Force career, he taught flying to trainees.

Cornell has always been on the move, and at 102, he still drives. He likes to go on regular errands the pharmacy, grocery store and bank. Age, it seems, hasn’t been able to slow Bill Cornell down.

Driving has always been Cornell’s favorite ways to travel, and he and his wife are proud to say they’ve explored the entire continental United States on wheels. They had a motor home for 20 years, with which they drove to 49 states. The only state that’s evaded them is Hawaii.

“If they built a bridge, we would have gone,” Cornell said.

They even drove all the way to Alaska, a cherished memory of his. Other top motor home trips include Texas, California and Florida.

But his favorite state? “Connecticut,” Cornell said emphatically.