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Cornelius Diggs

 Cornelius L. Diggs, Decatur, Ill., passed away in his sleep from complications of a cardiac arrest and cancer on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019 at the age of 84. He was a member and Deacon of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church for over 30 years, serving as assistant superintend of Sunday school, assistant treasurer, co-chair of the Education Scholarship Ministry and many other capacities. Cornelius was born in Weakly County Tennessee, the middle of three brothers, he attended school in Martin, TN and graduated 4th in his class from Weakly County High School. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Elementary Education from Lane College in 1956 where he became a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. His love of education pushed him to take graduate courses at Eastern Illinois, Illinois State and Millikin Universities. While attending Lane College he met, fell in love, and married Forrestine Theus. After a short stay in Detroit, MI and Cairo, IL they eventually settled in Decatur in 1962; both as elementary teachers in the Decatur Public School system. Over a 34-year teaching career Cornelius taught fifth, sixth, and seventh grades, coached elementary basketball, was a safety patrol advisor, student council advisor, Boy Scout master and served on countless education committees. He was very active in civic organizations, including NAACP (past president of the Decatur branch), member of the Frontiers International (past president of Decatur chapter), founding member of the Emanon Club, member of Phi Delta Kappa Education Fraternity, Illinois and National Education Associations just to name a few. Some of the honors he received: 1968 Washington School PTA Life Member, 1980 Frontiers International Internal Award, 1986 Washington School Teacher of the Year, 1991 New Salem Teacher of the Year, 1996 Nominated to Decatur Athletic Hall of Fame, 1996 Decatur Citizen Award and many others. Cornelius leaves behind to cherish his life, wife, Forrestine Diggs of Decatur, Ill.; son, Michael G. Diggs (Angelia); grandsons, Timothy M. Diggs (Jennifer) and children of Anoka, MN and Raymond D.W. Hess and children of Decatur, Ill.; granddaughter, Rachelle K. Diggs of Decatur, Ill.; first cousins, Janet Bunch and Loretta Jones of Decatur, Ill.;, many other relatives and friends. His parents, brothers, Tommy of Detroit, MI and John of Silver Springs, MD and his beloved daughter, Traci Diggs of Morrisville, NC preceded him in death. A memorial service will be held at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 530 W. Mound Rd., Decatur, IL on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at 1 p.m. Family visitation will begin at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made in Cornelius’s name to the Antioch Christian Academy through Antioch MB Church. The family would like to thank all those who have cared for Cornelius over the past few years: Dr. Guaglianone and the Cancer Center employees, Decatur Memorial Hospital doctors and staff, Comfort Keepers, Decatur Fire Department, EMTs and Moran & Goebel Funeral Home … and others that are too many to name. God Bless! The Moran and Goebel Funeral Home has been entrusted with the care of Cornelius. Condolences may be left to the Diggs family at www.moranandgoebel.com.

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