Pages 496-497 - George Cornell, vice-president of the Kent Motor Sales Company, one of the leading concerns in the automobile trade in the city of Grand Rapids, with well equipped office and sales rooms at 220 Ionia street, northwest, has both the technical skill and the executive ability that make him a resourceful exponent of the automobile business. Mr. Cornell was born in Lagrange county, Indiana, and was a boy at the time of the family removal to Huntington, that state, where he was afforded the advantages of the public schools and where also he gained his initial experience in the practical affairs of life. His predelection for the operation of automotive vehicles manifested itself when he was still a lad, and while still attending school he found opportunity to apply himself ambitiously until he learned to operate a steam roller. Thus his first essay in guiding a motor vehicle was not marked by any speed of traverse-operation, but there was movement and he has ever continued the apostle of movement - he has made things move, and thus he has achieved success in his various lines of activity. After his technical skill had been so developed that he could guide the ponderous and slow-paced steam road roller, Mr. Cornell learned to operate an automobile, he having been the third boy in Huntington to gain this distinction at a time when youthful drivers of motor cars were not so much in evidence as at the present time. His ambition was directed along practical lines, and he lost no opportunity for learning as thoroughly as possible all detail of the automotive trade and business. Thus he worked in various repair shops while still a lad, and later he was employed in various leading automobile factories, including those of the Reo, Buick and Haynes-Apperson companies, besides which, in the shops of the Erie Railroad at Huntington he learned the machinist's trade. He thus fortified himself admirably along technical lines touching the mechanics of the motor industry, and on Labor Day of the year 1913 he arrived in Grand Rapids. Here he associated himself with Charles E. Vaughan being now the secretary and treasurer of the Kent Motor Sales Company. In 1915 Mr. Cornell was with the agency for the Chalmers cars, and in the following year the Maxwell car gained similar exploitation by the firm. In 1917 Mr. Cornell associated himself with the West Michigan Oakland Company, the capacity of salesman and service manager, and Mr. Vaughn was with the Cadillac Company. In 1919 the two went with Hudson and Essex automobiles and in 1922 the Paige cars were taken into line by the progressive members of the firm. Messrs. Cornell and Vaughan eventually assumed control of the Kent Motor Sales Company, October 8, 1923, and under this title they have since continued their successful operations as prominent representatives of the automotive trade in Grand Rapids and its tributary territory. The company now gives major attention to the handling of the Paige and Jewett cars and the well directed business is one of the most substantial order. Mr. Cornell is one of the vital and progressive business men of the younger generation in Grand Rapids, is a Republican in politics, and is identified with various fraternal and social organizations. Mr. Cornell was married August 5, 1922, to Miss Nellian Sturgis, of Grand Rapids, and they maintain a pleasant home at 608 Fairview Avenue.
Transcriber: Gloria Paas
Created: 8 November 2002