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Furniture and Design Industry Veteran Shelba C. Cornelision Passes at 87

Furniture World News Desk on 5/17/2024

Sculpture named in honor of Shelba Cornelison in 2017.
Sculpture named in honor of Shelba Cornelison in 2017.


Furniture and design industry veteran Shelba C. Cornelision, age 87, passed away on Monday, May 13th, 2024. She was born December 1, 1936, in Surry, NC, to Claude Corder and Mary Ida Coe.

Cornelison served as executive editor of Furniture World Magazine from 1959 to 1981, working at its Furniture South, High Point Office. She was an award-winning editor, one of a few distinguished press people presented with a gold permanent pass to the High Point Market.

In the early 1980s, Cornelision entered a successful second-act advertising career, working for the shelter publication Southern Accents. She subsequently headed up North American sales for UK-based Bridge For Design, an international resource for interior designers. Later, she founded Shelba Cornelison Communications, a public relations and consulting firm.

North Carolina’s Our State Magazine noted in an interview with Cornelison that she had "covered every market since she graduated from high school. ‘It’s fabulous.’ Cornelison said, ‘I wouldn’t miss it for anything.’”

Cornelison served as a long-time board member at High Point’s Bienenstock Furniture Library. In 2017, the Library recognized her years of service with the dedication of a piece of kinetic art in its sculpture garden. At the ceremony, Charlie Sutton, Board Chairman Emeritus, said of Cornelison, “Shelba is a whirlwind of energy with a bright and cheery disposition. This kinetic and colorful sculpture reflects her personality. It will be a permanent reminder of the contributions she has made not only to the Library but to the home furnishings industry.”

“Shelba was the kindest, loving, and most loyal woman you could have in your life,” said her granddaughter, Amber McGaha. “She had an uncanny ability to reach people in such a profound and positive way. Shelba loved long lunches with her friends and spending as much time as possible with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who were the loves of her life."

Cornelison is survived by her daughter, Toni Hughes Davis; granddaughters Amber McGaha( Stephen) and Kali Hughes; great-grandchildren Kinsley McGaha and Lincoln McGaha; and many cousins and friends.

The family will honor her memory in a private ceremony in High Point.