Monday, January 22, 2007

Kenneth R. Corn, 1927 - 2007

My father died yesterday. It was not unexpected. He had taken himself off dialysis on Christmas Day. His health had been declining over the past years. Seventy-nine years old, he was becoming weaker by the week. And he decided he wanted to control his own death--and to die at home in the company of his wife before becoming so infirmed that he had to be packed off to an institution. He was told that dying in this fashion would take several days to a week or two. His body would poison itself. He lasted four weeks.

During this period, each of his three sons spent time with him and had a farewell. With me, he spoke extensively about his experience as a sailor during World War II. In his later years, my father, who had run his own accounting firm for most of his adult life, had become focused on his service in the Navy as a teenager, when he served on a destroyer that participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima. Before he died, I was able to thank him for his love and support over nearly half a century. Conflicts that had occurred between us decades earlier seemed rather distant and irrelevant. We joked, we shared reminiscences, we enjoyed the last moments we would ever have together.

As he headed toward the end, my father experienced not much pain. And he ended up taking his last breath at night while sleeping in his own bedroom, near his wife. He literally received his dying wish. I and other members of his family are saddened by his passing. (We will be gathering in a week or two for a memorial service.) But we are heartened that he had the death of his choosing. Everyone should be so fortunate.

Posted by David Corn at January 22, 2007 04:45 PM


capt said...

My greatest sympathy for your loss.


David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- Yes, would that everyone could be so fortunate. Pleased you had some time to talk to him near the end.

kathleen said...

What a wonderful passing! I am sorry for your loss David...I am sure your dad must have been very proud of you! Bless his soul!

kathleen said...

I am watching and listening to Flynt Leverett at "New American Foundation" a video called "Assessing Diplomatic Options Toward Iran"

Really worth watching. (hour and a half)

kathleen said...

I did not realize that the Bush administration threatened Flynt Leverett with criminal prosecution if he published his paper in the New York Times.

He just said that the Bush administration is trying "to limit the dessimination for the views of someone who is very critical of their approach to Iran policy"


kathleen said...

Can you believe Bush will be presenting a plan for Health care in his State of the Union!

We know Rove picked an issue that was a weiner.

These radicals have no shame what so ever!

David B. Benson said...

In today's news, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) announced a dramatic lowering of the Lake Cumberland reservoir, occasioned by the leaking dam. ACE recommends all downstream communities have evacuation plans.

Coincidently (sort of), today's TNYT has a opinion page peice pointing out that the US inventory of dams is aging and in urgent need of repair. The American Socieity of Civil Engineers (ASCE) states that $11 billion is needed to repair just those dams which treaten human life. (Again, just how much is the 'surge' going to cost?) ASCE estimates about $26 billion is needed to repair the approximately 100,000 major dams they know about.

Doesn't this come under the heading of 'Homeland Security'?

Incidentally, the opinion piece points out that it is largely the privately-owned dams which are at greatest risk. So much for the so-called ownership society...

David B. Benson said...

Err, "piece", not "peice". Also $36 billion, not your puny $26 billion...

capt said...

Tony Snow Previews 'State of Union' Speech -- And Says Iraq May Not Be Most Important Issue Facing U.S.

NEW YORK At his White House briefing today, with the president's State of the Union speech pending, Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked point blank if Iraq was "the most important issue facing the U.S." All major polls show that the public certainly thinks it is, and by a wide margin."

But Snow, answered, "it's hard to say."

Asked if the coming State of the Union address, which he has now read, was any good, Snow said, "yes, of course, it's good." What's the best part? "You know, it's difficult to say," he said, with a laugh. "It's like looking in a drawer full of diamonds."

He said there were "new" things in it and that it would be 40-something minutes long and had gone through many drafts, with the number in "double digits."

But Snow would not commit to Iraq as the most vital issue. He called it a "vital concern" but added, "Americans also have a lot of other domestic concerns. And as a President one tries, or the President is trying to go ahead and to take a good, thoughtful, tough look at problems that aren't going to go away, no matter who is President, and say, as President, it is the obligation of the Chief Executive to take a look at all the business before the American people and address it."

Snow deflected several questions on Hillary Clinton, beyond repeating an earlier statement that he feels a woman "could" be elected president by U.S. voters.


*****end of clip*****

Is it odd for me to find this a bit funny? Like a disconnected (p)resident's spokesperson explaining there is no disconnect?


flan said...


I am very sorry for you loss. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time. I am sure it was some comfort for you to be able to say good-bye and to know he was able to die the way he wanted. I did not have that with either of my parents, unfortunately.

I am sure he was very proud of you - as Kathleen already mentioned.

Ilene Flannery Wells

Gerald said...

Most people are unaware when death will occur.

Hopefully, when the hour of death is near, most people would prefer to die at home and not in a hospital.

When my father died, it was sudden and I was away. Not having those last precious moments with a parent is a serious loss.

My mother's death lingered for 4+ years but at least I had a chance to talk to her.

Miracle technology can keep us alive but this miracle technology does not always enhance the quality of life.

David Corn's father chose to die in the dignity of his home with his wife near him. A sad moment but a positive moment to die with a loved one or love ones near!

Gerald said...

We face a continuing snowjob from Tony Snow. Iraq is no longer pertinent because a nuclear attack on Iran is near. More bait and switch as well as smoke and mirrors from the liarfuehrer!!!!!

Hajji said...


Even with such a personal and desirable demise, the loss of one's parent is never easy.

My father, too, was a Navy Man, a boiler tender aboard the USS Iowa during the Korean...uhm...conflict.

His great personal adventure began with leaving the coal-fields of southeastern Kentucky, traveling around the world, predominantly in the Mediterranean, on a mighty battleship.

When he came home, he dilligently (with a little help from Mom) started the process of creating seven other adventurers, my brothers, sisters and me.

All that we could give him when he'd decided for no more radiation, no more surgery was our love and the promise that our adventures would continue to be, at least, interesting.

It was all he would have asked for.

Our best wishes to you and your family.

-Tom and Jill

Jeanne said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My father is 85. He has Alzheimer's. I gave him a CD player for Christmas and my mom put in Frank Sinatra. She told me he was relaxed because he always sat a certain way when he was relaxed. He fell asleep. Suddenly when Frank Sinatra sang "my funny Valentine" he woke up and smiled one of the biggest smiles I've every seen on his face. He was so delighted with the music. I will miss him so much when he dies. He is my root to this earth.

Gerald said...

Death of a Parent

Dear Posters:

The death of a parent is a sad moment. Some family members have a chance to spend those last precious moments with a loved one and some family members never have a chance.

I shared with you the death of my mother and the death of my father in a previous post. Many of us have suffered the loss of a parent. Such a loss is never easy.

What I remember about my father’s sudden death, I did not have time to reminisce about our Friday night fishing trips to the river in the summer. My father would walk home from work about one and one half miles away and he would be home about 4:00 or 4:30pm. We would be off to fishing about 5:30 or 6:00pm. The drive to the river was about one and one half hours. We would put up the tackle by 8:00pm and we would fish to about 6:00am. I usually fell asleep in the car by midnight and I would awaken one or two hours before we drove home.

As I grew older and other interests surfaced, those Friday fishing trips became history. Some moments in life can never be relived. I wish that those Friday fishing trips would have continued until my father died and I also wish that his grandchildren would have become part of those fishing experiences.

I did not have a chance to say, “Dad, thank you for those fishing experiences!”



DEN said...


Please accept my condolences for your loss.

He will live on with you in your memories and nearby in spirit.

We will all face that same door someday, he faced his with dignity, surrounded by the family that loved him.

Time passes and so do we.

Micki said...

David, I doubt that you'll actually see this, but in case you do read here, I'm pleased to hear you had some time with your father to reminisce, perhaps soothe old wounds, and that you fully appreciate that your father died his way. He gave his family a gift by doing that. He must have been a strong man.

On Saturday evening, I got a phone call from a lifelong friend. She told me she has stage four ovarian cancer. We talked and laughed and reminisced. Today I got a phone call from another friend's husband. He told me her son was killed in a car accident yesterday on Guemes Island.

These things remind us what's important, forgive quickly, laugh easily, and love fully.

Peace be with you and your family.

O'Reilly said...


I'm sorry you and your Mom and your brothers have lost your Dad. I can tell by the way you write about him that he loved you very much and you him, old disagreements notwithstanding.

If your Dad was anything like mine was, he might say "I'm so proud of you" and you would know he was telling you he loved you, the way he knew how. I don't think we truly understand how much our parents loved us, until they are gone.

I hope you get a chance to talk with your Dad's friends about him. They will tell you things you may never have heard, and that you're glad to know.

Pat said...

David, I join the others here, your friends and admirers, in expressing my condolence to you and your family. It's always sad when we lose a parent. It must be comforting to have that memory of how close you were to each other at the end.

Peace be with you.

Pat in FL

capt said...

New thread

Detroit Don said...


I'm sorry for your loss. Keep your chin up.


uncledad said...


I am sorry to hear of your loss, my condolences to you and your family.

capt said...

From David Corn:

I much appreciate the many expressions of condolences I have received regarding the death of my father. I realize that readers of my blog are, in a way, an extended family, and I am touched by those who have sent me and my immediate family their best wishes at this time. It is indeed heartening to receive such well-wishing from far and wide.