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Cornelia Serpell Passes Away

Cornelia Atherton Serpell was born March 7, 1917 to Cornelia A. Atherton and Peter Lee Atherton in Glenview, Kentucky and passed away on September 10, 2011.

Preceding her in eternal life are her parents; her sister, Sarah Atherton, and brother, John M. Atherton.

Those who remain to honor her and cherish her memory forever are her daughter, Cornelia Yankovich (Robert), four nephews, and a host of friends.
In addition to having owned several quality show horses, Serpell served as the American Horse Shows Association Steward at the Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show for many years, and had also served as a judge at the show. In 2003, she was inducted into the World's Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame.

Serpell was also an ardent and dedicated supporter of the Rock Creek Horse Show for over 50 years, serving as a judge, steward, and exhibitor. She was known as a very fair and honest judge, who treated everyone well. Serpell was always concerned for others and could always be depended on to get things done, but never for personal recognition. She might be best known for her work outside of the horse world, as she was the most single influential person in the history of Kentucky’s mental health advocacy.

Throughout her life she was a champion of many causes related to health and the well being of those challenged with mental health issues. Her work included: Children's Clinics in Eastern KY, where she and an RN rode on horseback to transport patients; Psychiatric In-Patient and Child Guidance Clinics; was Public Relations Director and Coordinator of Patient Rehabilitation for Central State Hospital; chaired fund-raising for the first mobile cancer unit in Kentucky; collaborated in establishing the Kentucky Association for Mental Health; organized statewide mental health committees.
Serpell served on numerous boards and councils, including: Wellspring, Visiting Nurses Association, Council for Health Services; Kentucky Advisory Council for Mental Health, Commission on Aging, State Board of Medical Licensure, Kentucky Legislature Ethics Commission. She was the recipient of the first Distinguished Alumna Award from Louisville Collegiate School; also she received the Health Kentucky - Service to Humanity Award, the Kilgore Good Samaritan Award, and the President's Award for the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities.

She was a strong force in improving the lives of those who were in need; she lifted them and gave them a chance. She was courageous and steadfast in all facets of her life, and will always remain a beacon of light and an inspiration.

Special thanks to caretakers Kathy, Phyllis, and Delanie, who in the last weeks of Serpell's life, provided loving support.

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