Fred and Theresa Cornwell on their wedding day in on February 23, 1953. Courtesy photo
Fred and Theresa Cornwell’s 70th anniversary is today, Monday, Feb. 13. They celebrated the occasion at a surprise party at Cottonwood on the Greens in Los Alamos. Courtesy photo
Fred and Theresa Cornwell celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on February 13, 2023. Fred is a native of southern West Virginia and Theresa was born and raised in Los Chavez, New Mexico.
In 1952, only a few months after being assigned to the Special Weapons School on Sandia Base, Fred attended a dance at the USO in downtown Albuquerque where he met Theresa Sanchez, “the most beautiful girl” he had ever seen. He asked her to marry him that same night. Whether he was serious or not didn’t matter because they married on what turned out to be a lucky Friday the 13th in 1953 at Our Lady of Belen Catholic Church. They planned to drive to Mexico for their honeymoon but only got a far as Truth of Consequences.
For the first few years of marriage, Fred and Theresa were often separated because Fred’s Air Force duties required him to be in places like Nevada, Maryland, and the Bikini & Enewetak Atolls. After his honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1955, the couple moved to Albuquerque where they welcomed their two oldest daughters, Carla and Melora, and then to Portales where their oldest son, David, was born. In the summer of 1959, Fred and Theresa moved their family to Los Alamos. Fred took a job in the Theoretical Group at LASL (now LANL). Their other three children, Vincent, Phillip, and Leslie, were born in Los Alamos.
Both Fred and Theresa are imaginative and artistic. In 1977, they opened Cornwell’s Gallery in White Rock featuring the art of local painters, jewelers, and potters, as well as artists from throughout the U.S. The gallery also featured Fred’s fine jewelry. Throughout their 70 years together, they have created innumerable creative works of art, including painting; wood and stone sculpture; furniture; fountains; photography; gardening; and more. Theresa is a lifelong poet who has documented her life through hundreds of poems that are enjoyed by family, friends, and even strangers. Fred shared the story of his life in a recent memoir. Both forms of life stories will be treasured for generations.
On February 11, 2023, their six children surprised them with an anniversary party at the Cottonwood on the Greens Restaurant. All six of their children attended along with most of their 17 grandchildren and many of their great grandchildren. It’s almost impossible to get six siblings to agree on anything, but one thing the Cornwell children wholeheartedly agree on is that they are blessed with incredible loving and inspiring parents!