Store owner found dead in Old River Sunday

Published 12:24 am Tuesday, June 19, 2007

VIDALIA — Father’s Day turned tragic for one local family after their father died while out fishing.

William “Peanut” Cornwell, 69, of Ferriday, was found facedown in Old River at Minorca by Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies after they responded to a 911 call, reports at the Sheriff’s office said.

The caller reported a man slumped down in his boat with his head in the water, reports said.

Email newsletter signup

Investigators believe Cornwell suffered a heart attack while in his boat fishing, but no official cause of death has been determined, CPSO public information officer Kathleen Stevens said.

Cornwell’s daughter Lisa Johnson of Vidalia said family members believe he was experiencing chest pain and stood to retrieve a phone from his pocket before falling.

“Daddy loved to fish, and he would take anybody who wanted to go,” Johnson said. “When he couldn’t find anyone to go with him, he would take his two dogs.

“He died doing the thing he loved to do most, and there’s some comfort in that.”

Cornwell was owner of Peanut’s Convenience Store in Ferriday, and Johnson said she is yet to meet someone who didn’t know him.

“He was a good man, a fair man and he would help anybody who he could help,” she said. “He didn’t care about the color of his customers — he was color blind.”

Cornwell was a devoted family man and an active member of the Moose Lodge and the Kiwanis, Johnson said.

When the coroner’s office arrived on the scene Sunday, one of the dogs Cornwell took with him got scared and ran off, Johnson said.

The family would like to find the dog, a rottweiler-fox terrier mix that answers to Rascal, Johnson said.

Anyone with information about the dog can contact Johnson at 601-870-7712.