MARGARET CORNELIUS (1939 - 2018) was born in Winkle, New Amsterdam Guyana. She married Lloyd Cornelius in 1968 and eventually migrated to Brooklyn NY and had 2 children, Lloyd Jr. and Liane. She started officiating track meets in the 1980’s for the then Metropolitan Association. Her daughter Liane ran for the well-renowned Zodiacs Track Club that originated in the Bronx but later expanded to have a Brooklyn chapter. Many of the mothers of the Zodiac track club were working enthusiastically and dutifully for the Association in an effort to assist their children and the children of New York City.
Margaret worked judging and timing on the finish line long before the advent of the high-tech photo finish equipment we are used to right now. All judging was done by eyeball and timing was done by hand. The M.A.C. had some very skilled folks to train her well. What they did not have to train her for was being a quiet, but strong leader.
Her diplomatic expertise of working for the United Nations came in quite handy while working with the large groups that had to staff the finish line. Try negotiating with close to 10 people, all with different times on their watches to get a consensus for the timing results. That was the nature of working the finish line in the 80’s & 90s. Imagine then trying to coordinate results with Irv Black’s Omega photo-timing system where they literally had to develop the film on site to help determine the order of finish. For you young kids out there, yes -- develop real film; not the digital images you have instantly today.
More than most times, Margaret’s team’s visual judging was in agreement with the photo results that were recorded as official places in the final results.
She was also able to recruit an entire generation of finish line officials in the NYC area, including her son Lloyd Jr, to be the most reliable group of workers at any track meet.
Margaret worked countless local & regional youth, open & masters meets on the finish line, culminating with her selection to work the 2000 Olympic Trials in Sacramento CA. After moving to Georgia, Margaret continued to work ACC & SEC college conferences meets until her passing in 2018.
Her legacy of working with some of the greatest officials in the history of the New York Association will not be forgotten. Margaret Cornelius was a parent to her children, an extended parent to the kids of the Zodiacs Track Club, and mentor/partner with every official she came into contact with during her time here in the New York Association.