The Ottumwa Courier


January 3, 2011

William Cornelius, 63, Ottumwa

OTTUMWA — William M. Cornelius, 63, of Clinton, died Friday, Dec. 31, 2010, at Mercy Medical Center, North Campus-Clinton.

Memorial Services will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, at the Clinton Chapel Snell-Zornig Funeral Homes and Crematory. 

The family will greet friends from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday evening at the funeral home.

William Murray Cornelius was born on Feb. 13, 1947, in New York City, the son of Alexander Murray and Irene Norton Cornelius. He married Linda Bjornsen on June 1, 1974, at Tubbs Apple Orchard in Maquoketa. He was a 1965 graduate of Rye High School in Rye, N.Y. He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Tarkio College in Tarkio, Mo. He also received a master’s degrees in music education and school administration from the University of Iowa.

Bill began his teaching career as the band instructor in the Moravia and Victor School Districts. He then moved to Maquoketa to become the high school band director. After Maquoketa, he moved to Ottumwa where he was, at various times, a band director, fine arts supervisor and a principal for 23 years before moving to Clinton in 2002. He served as the principal at Clinton High School from 2002 until his retirement in 2003.

Bill enjoyed spending time with his family, traveling, reading and working outdoors; he had a passion for photography and technology. He served as the webmaster for the Bickelhaupt Arboretum and the Children’s Discovery Center. He also established the Muddy River Camera Club in 2007 and currently served as its president. Bill was always a strong proponent for the arts. He was instrumental in establishing the Greater Ottumwa Vocal Arts Project. He also served as the chairman of Ottumwa’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1994. Bill received the Iowa School Administrator’s award for Fine Arts Supervisor of the Year in 1998.

Bill is survived by his wife, Linda of Clinton; two daughters, Cadence R. Cornelius and her husband Eli Eijadi of Minneapolis, Minn., and Christie Bjornsen at home; his parents, Murray and Irene Cornelius of Collinsville, Ill.; his sister, Karen Getty and her husband Joe of Collinsville, Ill., and one nephew, Alex Getty of Collinsville, Ill.

Bill’s family and friends will sorely miss his talents, his ready smile, his boisterous laugh, his encouragement and his caring nature.

Memorials can be made to the Muddy River Camera Club or the Bickelhaupt Arboretum.

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