Full Name: William J. Cornelius
Year of Induction: 2015
Bill Cornelius was appointed to the Texas Court of Appeals, Sixth District, in 1973, then served as its Chief Justice for over 29 years from October 1977 until his mandatory retirement in June 2002. He participated in the organizational meeting and first educational seminar of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal in1980, then was on its Executive, Nominating, and Resolutions Committees. Until their deaths, he and his wife, Kathryn, faithfully attended 31 of the 33 annual conferences held by the Council, reflecting unparalleled dedication to the organization and the law. His wisdom, integrity, courtesy, stately bearing, and deep, resonant voice enhanced the Council and inspired his colleagues.
He earned his undergraduate degree at East Texas Baptist University, his J.D. from Baylor University School of Law, and his LL.M. from the University of Virginia Law School. He also did legal study at Oxford University in England. Being in a multi-generational family of lawyers, the law was in his blood. Before appointment to the bench, he was a County Attorney and District Attorney. Among his accomplishments were his service as chair of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas, as a member of the Texas Judicial College faculty, and the author of many articles about the law. He died of cancer in 2007.