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Obituary for Cornell Stokes Sr.

March 19, 1941 – May 5, 2023

Cornell Stokes Sr., age 82, passed away on Friday, May 5, 2023. He was born on March 19, 1941, to the late Lee Andrew and Cora (nee: Gill) Stokes in Carthage, Miss. He confessed his love for Christ at a young age and joined Christian Union M. B. Church.

Cornell Stokes Sr.
Cornell Stokes Sr.

Cornell graduated from Conway High School in 1959 in Carthage, Miss. Cornell moved to Milwaukee, Wis. following his graduation and began working right away.

On May 3, 2023, Cornell and Josephine celebrated 43 years of blissful and holy matrimony. Cornell loved being married and loved his wife.

Cornell was employed by Ladish Co. Inc. from 1979 until his retirement. Ladish Co. Inc. is a supplier of high-strength forgings for jet engines and other aerospace and industrial applications. Cornell was very proud of his work.

Cornell was a member of the Southgate Lodge No. 6 – Prince Hall Masons. He was a master at all his crafts. Cornell started playing the piano at the age of five. He played for a band named King George & the Third Action Band in his earlier years, and he played the organ for local churches like New Omega Missionary Baptist Church, and Greater Mt. Eagle Baptist Church. He was a faithful and committed member of New Omega Missionary Baptist Church for over 30 years until his health began to fail. Cornell was a 6th-degree Black Belt Martial Artist & a karate instructor. He loved gardening and loved riding his motorcycle.

Cornell loved listening to gospel music like Lee Williams & the Spiritual QCs, the Jackson Southernaires, and the Mighty Clouds of Joy. With this love of gospel music, the Male Choruses in Racine that had him as a director were seen as the best in the city. Cornell also enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He was a quiet, gentle, patient and kind man. A couple of his famous quotes were “Nothing comes from talking but sound,” and “There is power in your silence, know when to speak.”

Cornell leaves to cherish his fond memories: his wife of 43 years, Josephine Stokes of Racine; four daughters, Sheila Stokes, Delina (Johnny) Reed, and Sharon Stokes, all of Milwaukee, Virginia Marshall-Weaver of Racine; two sons, Cornell Stokes Jr. of Milwaukee, and Melvin Arthur of Racine; three brothers-in-law, R. L. Drain of Canton, Miss., Timothy Marshall and Patterson Marshall, both of Racine; three sisters-in-law, Gladys Stokes of Carthage, Miss., and Dora Mullins and Regina Avant, both of Racine; special friends, Courtney & Virginia Jackson, Burnette Horton, and Emmitt & Winnie McGhee; every Male Chorus member he conducted, and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and other loved ones.

He was preceded in death by his loving parents, Lee Andrew and Cora Stokes; brothers, R. L. Stokes, Thomas Jefferson Stokes, and Lindberg Stokes; sisters, Bertha McDonald, Ruth McMillian, Luvader Wilder, and Rozader Drain, and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.


Family and friends are invited to meet at New Omega Baptist Church (5731 Northwestern Ave.) on Saturday, May 13, 2023, for a visitation from 11 a.m. until noon. A service celebrating the life and Homegoing of Cornell Stokes will follow at noon with Rev. Fred Richmond officiating. His interment will take place at West Lawn Memorial Park on Monday, May 15 at 11 a.m.

Obituary and photo courtesy of Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home.

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