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Robert E. Cornell

February 22, 1934 ~ April 15, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old


Robert E. Cornell

Clevelands House

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Robert (Bob) in his 90th year, on April 15th at Andy’s House in Port Carling. 

Beloved husband to Fran for 65 years, cherished father of Sharon (Ted), David (Karen) and Sandy. Proud grandfather of Taron (Matt), Taylor (Megan) Carruthers; Graeme, Andrew, and Lauren Cornell.

As fate would have it, Dad’s parents took him on a family holiday to Clevelands House in the mid 1940’s, and he immediately fell in love with the hotel and his mission to someday own it began. 

Bending the truth to the Minett’s, (the owners at the time), that he was 16 years old when he was actually only 14, he began his hospitality career as a bellhop in 1949. 

Dad graduated from the Hotel Resort and Restaurant Administration program at Ryerson in 1957. There he met life long friends who went on to own resorts as well, and they had many years of fun and laughter together. 

Dad continued to work in various managerial roles over the next several years, and eventually became General Manager of Clevelands House under then owner, Ted Wright. 

After interviewing and hiring a young Fran Lees, (our mother), to be a waitress, a romance blossomed and wedding bells soon followed. 

Dad finally achieved his dream of becoming the owner of Clevelands House  in 1969, with the help of a loan from his mother-in-law for the down payment. 

As the new owners, working side by side, he and Mom expanded the hotel over the next 38 years into one of Canada’s largest privately owned and operated family resorts.

Dad and Mom would eventually sell the resort in 2007 after years of hard work and enjoyment. He lived out the remainder of his life in quiet contentment on Lake Rosseau with his best friend, our Mom, more in love than ever. 

To quote Dad from one of the many articles written about him, he said “When I die, I want to be reincarnated and come back as the owner of Clevelands House!” , a true testament to his love for the resort. 

Our Dad loved his life, both personally and professionally, and often told us if he had a chance to do it all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing. 

Sadly, we have lost our hero and mentor, but we will always be so proud of his accomplishments and eternally thankful for the wonderful example he has set for us. We are truly grateful to have had him as our patriarch. Not a day will go by that we won’t wish we could talk to him and ask him for his insightful advice, whether in business or in life. He always knew what to say and suggest. 

We will all take a page from his remarkable life and treasure his legacy with immense pride. 

A special thank you to Dr. Lisa Tsugios and the nursing team at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital and also the phenomenal caregivers at Andy’s House.

Visitation will take place in Bracebridge on Thursday, April 20th at Reynolds Funeral Home, located at 1 Mary Street, from 2-4pm and from 7-9pm. 

Funeral service will take place on Friday, April 21st at the St. Thomas Anglican Church, 4 Mary Street, across from Reynolds at 2pm.  

Interment to take place at a later date at Christ Church Gregory in Minett. 

In lieu of flowers, donations would be greatly appreciated to Andy’s House ( or Christ Church Gregory, P.O. Box 21 Minett. ON, P0B 1G0. 


April 20, 2023

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Reynolds Funeral Home
1 Mary Street
Bracebridge, Ontario (ON) P1L2B6

April 20, 2023

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Reynolds Funeral Home
1 Mary Street
Bracebridge, Ontario (ON) P1L2B6

Funeral Service
April 21, 2023

2:00 PM
St. Thomas Anglican Church - Bracebridge
4 Mary St.
Bracebridge, ON P1L2B6


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