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Judith L. Cornish


Judith L. Cornish, Overland Park, KS passed away on Sunday November 4, 2018 after a seven year battle with cancer. 

Judy was born to Wayne and Eleanor Cornish May 4, 1959 in Kansas City, MO.  Upon graduation from St. Theresa’s Academy she attended St. Catherine’s University in Saint Paul, MN.  She later transferred and graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute.  She received a Masters degree in Education from UMKC through the Kauffman Foundation’s Fellows program.

Judy’s career path took her to Japan, where she taught English for 13 years.  She later lived in New Zealand and returned to her hometown to teach in the Kansas City, MO Public School system.  She taught English as a Second Language.  She loved children from all cultures and had a passion for teaching new Americans.  She was a lifetime educator both in and outside the classroom, teaching from kindergarten to college students.

Judy’s love of Japan was first instilled when a classmate’s mother, a Japanese war bride, presented to her 4th grade class.  Judy would later take Japanese language and culture lessons from her at Rockhurst University.  This led to her decades long affiliation with the Heart of America Japan America Society. She was recently honored with a plaque from the society and given lifetime membership status, of which she was extremely honored and proud.

Judy married Diane Clark, her life partner, October 24, 2015 in Hawaii after marriage for everyone became legal nationwide.  They married on the 12th anniversary of their first date.  She is survived by by her wife, her mother Eleanor, brother Jim, sisters Diane, Susy and Shari and her much loved niece, Christina.  Her father, her brother Daryl, and brother-in-law Edgar all preceded in her death. 

Judy left a trail of love across many continents.  Her friends and extended family are too numerous to list.  However, her best friend, Belinda Blake, whom she met on her first day at St Theresa’s, left an indelible mark on her life.  They spoke on the phone every single day, sometimes twice daily….about nothing and everything. 


A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, November 12, 2018 at Grace Church 10300 Antioch, Overland Park KS.  


Charitable contributions in her honor can be made to the Heart of America Japan America Society, Student Ambassador Program, P.O. Box 22487, Kansas City, MO 64113-2487. 





  1. Reem el Mutwalli on November 13, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Dear Diane,
    Loved ones who leave us in life stay living within our hearts.. I remember you both in laughter & happiness. Look to the beautiful moments and memories that will continue as long as you live..
    Parting is hard, but at least we know she is at a better place now, away from pain, watching over us with a simile..
    My heart goes out to you and my prayers..
    Reem el Mutwalli

  2. James Elementary Staff on November 8, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Ms. Cornish was a valuable member of the James Elementary staff. She made many students feel comfortable in a new country. Her passion for helping ELL students will forever be remembered. May you find strength and comfort to help you through this time of sorrow.

  3. Susan Moreno on November 6, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Judy will be missed. She had a heart of gold.

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