John Miller Cornman

September 29, 1933June 9, 2018

John M. (Jack) Cornman, 84, a former executive director of academic professional societies and an advocate for affordable housing, died Saturday, June 9, 2018. The cause was complications from cancer following a long illness. A long-time resident of Arlington, VA, he lived in Goodwin House at Bailey’s Crossroads.

He began his career in Washington as a legislative aide, speech writer, and press secretary for two U.S. Senators, the late Bob Bartlett of Alaska and Philip A. Hart of Michigan. Mr. Cornman managed housing policy and was responsible for some of the most eloquent and memorable remarks of the late Senator Hart, the senator for whom the third Senate Office Building was named.

As executive director of The Gerontological Society of America and the American Anthropological Association (membership organizations) and president of the National Rural Center, a policy analysis/advocacy organization – Mr. Cornman had extensive experience in nonprofit program development and management. He also managed the successful Congressional campaign of the late Joseph L. Fisher in 1974 and advised numerous Arlington County Democratic election campaigns. In addition, he was a founder of the Alliance for Housing Solutions in Arlington in 2003 and a consulting firm specializing in strategic planning and fundraising for nonprofit corporations in 1996. He served on numerous boards and committees of nonprofit organizations and public sector advisory committees.

He co-authored two books—a case study of a nonprofit organization and a policy primer on intergenerational relations. He also co-authored a number of journal articles on containing health care expenditures, ethical and societal issues raised by the aging of populations, and on the social contract and intergenerational relations.

Born in Philadelphia in 1933, Mr. Cornman was raised in Bala Cynwyd on Philadelphia’s Main Line and graduated from The Haverford School and Dartmouth College in 1955. He worked as city editor of a daily newspaper following college.

A son, Geoffrey Miller, preceded him in death in 2004. Donna, his wife of nearly 57 years of Arlington/Falls Church, survives him. Others include: daughter-in-law, Carol L. Cornman (Brent Sperry); granddaughters, Ashton Rose and Grace Miller, all of Vienna; daughter, Jennifer C. Cornman (Veerendra Lele); grandson, Kieran, all of Granville, Ohio; and J. Whitney Cornman (Lu Ann); granddaughter, Charlotte Elizabeth, all of Rockville, MD.

A celebration is expected later this summer. In lieu of flowers, charitable gifts in his memory may be made to the Alliance for Housing Solutions, P.O. Box 7009, Arlington, VA 22207.


John Miller Cornman

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July 15, 2018

There are so many memories from working with the best boss and mentor ever during my 'growing up years' at The Gerontological Society of America. I am so unbelievably lucky that my career in DC started under this great man. I would not be where I am without having known him and I can only hope that I can make him proud.

Jack would take the youngest employees to lunch about once every quarter and ask us 'so what are you going to do with your career. What's your five year plan? !' I don't know if i ever figured out what my 5 year plan was, or is, but what I know is that 30 years later, I still quote this man regularly: "never be separated from your dry goods!" Not only was he concerned with our careers, but he desperately wanted us all to be Redskins fans. Oh, how miserable Monday mornings would be when the Redskins lost on Sunday.

I am so humbled to have known this man, and I would not be where I am without his guidance, his humor, his intellect, his humanity, and most of all his caring and feeding of people in his, very wide, orbit.

Thank you, Jack Cornman...just.........thank you!