Russell K. Cornelius peacefully and happily graduated from this life on April 10, 2022, to be reunited with some of his cherished family, whom he deeply missed. Russell was born on October 25, 1943, in Reno, Nevada. He grew up in Virgin, Utah and Antioch, California. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1964 and spent (as he was fond of saying) 20 years, 3 months, and 20 days serving his country. He married the love of his life, Kathleen Owen, in 1965. Later in life, he wrote, “my life really began the day I met Kathy.” They spent a two-year honeymoon in England (courtesy of the US Air Force), then moved to Florida, Texas, California, Mississippi, Virginia, and Utah over the next 25 years. Along the way, they adopted Jennifer Lee, Christopher Owen, and Jane Marie; Amanda Ruth showed up at the end as a happy unexpected surprise addition. The family moved to Utah after Russ retired from the Air Force to keep the promise he made to Kathy to bring her home closer to family.
Russ had a brilliant mind and many passions throughout his life. He learned computer programming in the Air Force and worked in that field for the rest of his career. He was always willing to help friends and neighbors experiencing computer problems-- he said it made him feel popular. He knew hundreds of jokes and loved making people laugh. His love for art began as a young child, and over the years he became proficient at drawing, photography, pottery, stained glass, calligraphy, and watercolor, to name just a few. He believed art was a skill, not a talent, and the most important thing an artist could do was practice. Russ never gave up when he wanted to get better at something. He was kicked out of the school choir in eighth grade due to his off-key singing. But he loved music of all kinds and sang along happily in church and anywhere else he could. By the end of his life, he wasn’t exactly Sinatra, but he could just about carry a tune in a bucket. Russ also loved cars of any kind, especially classic cars. He made some of the best, longest-lasting friendships of his life while bonding over cars. He owned, restored, and sold dozens of cars over the years and especially loved convertibles. He always jumped at the opportunity to attend a car show or cruise-in. He was a lifelong Raider fan.
Russ was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and served in a variety of callings in the church including Bishop, Gospel Doctrine teacher, and Primary teacher. He loved learning and teaching and would spend hours preparing his lessons. He thoroughly enjoyed studying, pondering, and writing about gospel topics, especially those centered on the life, mission, and love of Jesus Christ. He shared his thoughts on his blog: russellsruminations.blogspot.com.
Russ was preceded in death by his sweetheart Kathleen and his beloved parents Russell B. and Ruth. He is survived by his children Jennifer (Mark) Anderson, Chris (Millie) Cornelius, Marie (Chris Wilson) Cozby, and Amanda Cornelius. Some of his greatest joy came in spending time with his ten grandchildren and three great-granddaughters.
Russell’s memorial will take place on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 331 S 50 W, in Kaysville, at 11 am. All are welcome to visit with Russ’s family and friends at 10 am prior to the service. Graveside Service will be held at 2:30 pm with Military Honors and Dedication of the Grave at the Brigham City Cemetery, 300 E 300 S, Brigham City, Utah. Interment will take place at Brigham City Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. John's Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, where one of Russ’s grandchildren recieves ongoing care: https://giving.hshs.org/sjs/Donate.
Those unable to attend in person are invited to watch remotely through the following link: https://zoom.us/j/99337925266