USAB mourns the loss of Diane Cornell

Jan. 13, 2020, 4:57 p.m. (ET)

Requiescat in Pace



January 7, 2020


With great sorrow the Northeast Badminton Association marks the passing of our colleague, badminton player, event organizeroverall supporter, counsellor and good friend, Diane Cornell who passed away Tuesday night having fought breast cancer for some years with determination and grace.  She had been a mainstay of the badminton community in the Northeast Region for many decades, having been brought up in the sport by her parents, both avid and accomplished players. 


Diane’s contributions to badminton have been felt throughout our Region throughout her lifetime and they are myriad.Her specific, continuing legacy includes the many decades-old Mid Atlantic Classic and the “younger” DC Open, both national-ranking tournaments.  She maintained her spirit and devotion for badminton throughout her ordeal continuing to serve actively on the board of NEBA including terms as President. The badminton community here is much diminished in losing her spirit, her vision and her wise counselhelping to promote badminton as a vital activity for people of all ages and abilities


But Dianehas also made huge contributions on the national scene.  She served as President of the United States Badminton Assn (asUSA Badminton was known previously) in the mid 90s. During her Presidency, Diane worked tirelessly helping the then IBF (now BWF)and Atlanta Organizing Committee to welcome the dignitaries and celebrities to Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games. Diane even took the time to meet Paul Newman at his jet at the airport taking him and his crew to dinner prior to the matches that evening! Shelater workedto support the US Bid for Olympics 2012 to be hosted in DC and even as recently as last year served as chair of the USAB Ethics Committee among other things.Her background in law was put to good use in all these endeavors and helped inform her clear-eyed, measured approach addressing issues of all types.  


In addition to her extensive involvement in badminton, Diane was a former longtime official at the Federal Communications Commission, having served as Counsel to the Chairman and Legal Advisor to three Commissioners.  She also served as president of the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA).  Between 2 stints at the FCC, Diane worked as Vice President for Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)with specific responsibility for coordination regarding regulatory issues related to the mobile wireless industry as well anindustry executive for Inmarsat Global which specializes in global mobile satellite.  In 2017, her sweeping contributions in policy and mentorship and her long years of service earned her the FCBA Excellence in Government Service Award.  The FCC recognized her value over the years awarding her the Agency's Gold Medal for Distinguished Service, the Special Achievement Award, and the Chairman's Outstanding Service Award.


Diane was born and raised in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, received her BA from Wesleyan University and her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and resided most of of her life in Washington, DC and Cape May, NJ.  She passed peacefully at home in the care of her lifetime partner, Margaret Flinner.


We will truly miss our accomplished, good friend Diane.

 1996 Atlanta Olympics - Diane, far right; Jimmy Carter (yellow shirt) and Team USA    USAB President, 1996
 Diane at the DC Open 2001    Northeast Badminton Association Meeting, 2017 - Diane, second from right