Funeral Services for William J. Cornelius, age 89, of Foley, will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at Estes Brook Evangelical Free Church.
Visitation will be held 4:00 – 7:00 P.M. Monday, March 5th at the Foley Nursing Center Chapel.
William (Bill) Cornelius was born April 7, 1917 at Crookston, MN to Atlee and Ethel (White) Cornelius. He grew up in a log cabin at Faunce, MN in the Beltrami State Forest. Bill attended school in Faunce, Crookston and Williams. He graduated from Williams High in 1935. After high school he helped his father with farming and logging at Williams and also spent a summer at the Civilian Conservation Core in Blackduck. In December of 1937 he moved to Minneapolis to attend Calhoun Secretarial School where he studied bookkeeping, typing and clerical. He returned home upon graduation to help his parents build a home in Williams. In December of 1940 he enlisted in the army. He served his country in World War II being stationed at Fort Snelling for 7 months and then served in Africa, Italy, and France. Being granted a one day leave in 1942, he married Elsie Gustafson on July 4, 1942 at the Estes Brook Evangelical Free Church. After returning from serving his country, he and Elsie lived in St. Paul. Bill attended night school at the U of MN studying accounting, and also worked various jobs. In 1949 Bill and Elsie moved to Estes Brook and a year later to the current farm where they lived for 56 years. Bill farmed, worked as bookkeeper for the Oak Park Creamery for many years and served on the District 7 school board. In 1967 Bill took employment with the Twin Cities Arsenal and later Federal Cartridge. He retired in 1983. Bill prepared Income Taxes for 54 years for family, friends and neighbors. Bill and Elsie raised 7 children. Bill enjoyed feeding and watching the birds, gardening, reading and doing income taxes. He canned wonderful homemade salsa and relish for the family until last year. He canned over 100 quarts of salsa and relish for many years to give away to his children and grandchildren. He was able to tend his garden through this last summer. Bill passed away on March 2, 2007 at the age of 89 years, 10 months, 25 days after a four year battle with Cancer.
Bill was a wonderful husband, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa and great-great grandfather. Bill is survived by children; Judy (Earl) Wentzel of Minneapolis, LuAnn (Delano) Strombeck of Foley, Rita (Larry) Anderson of Maple Grove, Jean (Dan) Geurkink of Austin, TX, Roger (Rhonda) Cornelius of Milaca, Larry (Joanne) Cornelius of Minnetonka, and Marlys (Keith) Olson or Eden Prairie; 26 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, 1-great-great grandchild, sister Shirley Nesbitt of Houston, MN; sister-in law, Edy Cornelius Lindstrom of Baudette, aunt Lillian Gordon of Crookston and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife Elsie in January 2007, by his parents and his brother Stanley.