Updated: Sunday, 10 May 2009, 3:33 PM CDT
Published : Sunday, 10 May 2009, 1:26 PM CDT
DE PERE - Reverend Robert J. Cornell, O. Praem., 89, of St. Norbert Abbey, former U.S. Congressperson from the Eighth District of Wisconsin, died this morning, Sunday, May 10, 2009.
Fr. Cornell was born in Gladstone Michigan and moved to Green Bay when he was 8.
He entered the Norbertine Order in 1938 and was ordained on June 17, 1944. Fr. Cornell earned a doctorate in history from Catholic University, Washington, DC with a focus on U. S. labor history. He taught at St. Norbert High School, Abbot Pennings High School and St. Norbert College.
Fr. Cornell served as the Eighth District Chair of the Democratic Party. In 1975 he was elected U.S. Congressperson, the first democrat elected from the Eighth District of Wisconsin in 30 years and only the second Catholic priest to serve in Congress.
Upon completion of two congressional terms, Fr. Cornell returned to his faculty position at St. Norbert College and remained vitally involved in politics and issues of social justice.
Funeral arrangements are pending.