Joe Cornell, a veteran of Okinawa during World War II and later a longtime firefighter in San Pablo, died Aug. 9 at 80 at Sonora Regional Medical Center.
A memorial service with a fireman's final tribute and military honor guard will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Sunset View Cemetery, 101 Colusa Ave. in El Cerrito.
Cornell was born in Denver, but came to California with his family when he was 3.
In 1944 he lied about his age and entered the U.S. Army Air Corps as a fighter plane mechanic at age 14 and landed on Okinawa the day before his 15th birthday.
Cornell married his wife Margie when he was on a stateside visit at age 17.
A longtime Richmond resident, Cornell joined the San Pablo Fire Department after the war, working for 26 years before his retirement.
He then worked as a truck drive in San Jose and Groveland, Calif., where he moved and continued his interest in activities such as water skiing, dancing, playing cards, "riding his Harley and enjoying a good cup of Joe at Cafe PJ's," his family said, noting, "Joe will always be remembered for his witty sense of humor and his laughter would light up any room"
Cornell is survived by his wife Priscilla, children Jeanie, Nancy, Julie and Joe, 13 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
A celebration of life will be held on 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at Groveland Evangelical Free Church.