Harry M. Cornell died on Sunday. The former Leggett and Platt Executive was 93. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has this remembrance.
Today, Cornell is probably best known for providing $5 million to help construct the performing arts center in Joplin that bears his name and is still under construction in downtown Joplin.
The Harry M. Cornell Arts and Entertainment complex is expected to be complete this fall. But long before his name would grace buildings, he would work for the family business, Carthage, (Missouri)-based Leggett and Platt. Cornell would start at the company when he was still in high school in the late 1940s.
Nearly 20 years after he got his start, he would be elected President and CEO of the company, taking over from his Father. The legacy of Harry M. Cornell Jr. and his effect on Leggett and Platt and greater southwest Missouri would far outpace his Father.
Cornell Jr. would serve as Leggett and Platt’s President and CEO from 1960 until he retired in 1999. Cornell remains the longest-serving head of the company. He was 93.