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Betty Jean Cress Cornett

• Sep 13, 2019 at 2:32 PM

APPALACHIA, VA - Betty Jean Cress Cornett, 94, of Appalachia, passed away peacefully at her home on September 11, 2019.

Betty adored her family, loved her friends and community, exemplified her Christian faith, and moved the human spirit with her music in the beautiful Appalachian mountains that she called home. At a young age, she aspired to be a concert pianist. After receiving a college business certificate, she returned to her first love, receiving advanced musical training at Sullins College. During the height of her performance years, she was the piano accompanist for a popular all-male chorus, earning the title of "First Lady of the Southlanders." She was the pianist for the Appalachia United Methodist Church, a role in which she faithfully served for 76 years. She was also a dedicated piano teacher in public schools, then in her home, having mentored over one thousand pupils when she retired at the age of 88. Betty, with grace and kindness, gave humbly, selflessly, tirelessly and lovingly to her family, church and community. Passing along her higher sense of service by bringing the joy of music to the world, she truly earned the title of "First Lady" to all who knew her. She was preceded in death by her husband, W.D. Cornett, Jr., parents, John and Flossie Cress, and sister, Anne Cress Babb.

She is survived by sons, John "Dub" Cornett (Joan) and Dr. Mark Cornett (Debbie); daughters, Stephanie Wright (Eddie) and Carla Cornett; brother, Frank Cress (Marilyn); grandsons, Tylor Cornett and Ryan Cornett; nieces, Brenda McCroskey and Katherine Wust; and nephew, John Frank Cress.

The Cornett family will receive friends on Saturday, September 14, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Roy A. Green Funeral Home, Appalachia, VA. A graveside service will be held Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Powell Valley Memorial Gardens. Family and friends are asked to meet at the funeral home no later than 1:15 pm to go in procession to the cemetery.

The family would like to express extreme gratitude to the numerous home caregivers who have loved and cared for Betty since January 2017. In lieu of flowers, donations may be mailed to Pro-Art; P.O. Box 179; Wise, VA 24293. Roy A. Green Funeral Home, Appalachia, is serving the Cornett family.

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