Mary Cornelius


Mary Margaret D. Cornelius died on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. Mary was born Aug. 11, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Jemima (Robertson) and James Dick.

She grew up in St. Louis, and later in Park Ridge, Illinois, with her siblings James and Jean. In 1945, after graduating from high school, she enrolled in nursing school at Presbyterian Hospital Chicago, Illinois in the U.S. Cadet Nurses Corps program and graduated in 1948 as a Registered Nurse.

Mary married Franklin Leroy (Lee) Cornelius on Feb. 21, 1948, and they had four daughters: Laurie, Marylee, Heather, and Hollie. After living in Madison for several years, Mary and Lee moved to Verona in 1959. The family attended Westminster Presbyterian Church throughout those years. In 1974, the family moved to Oswego, Illinois, and later Peoria, Illinois, where they lived until 1997. In 1997 they returned to Verona to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Mary’s great love and talent was playing the piano. There wasn’t a song she couldn’t play and entertained family and friends until the end with her special flair and composition. Most of all she loved and cherished her husband and family.

Mary is survived by her daughters: Laurie (Brad) McDowell of Verona; Marylee (Darryl) Miller of Centennial, Colorado; Heather Van Natta of Greenwood Village, Colorado; and Hollie (Paul) Radomski of Fort Ripley, Minnesota.

She is also survived by her grandchildren: Ryan (Christine Blaisdell) McDowell and Ross (Susan) McDowell; Marcail (Marcus) Nielsen and Jake (Lori) Miller; and Claire (Alex) Wegener, and Wiley (Lauren) Radomski; and her amazing great grandchildren: Blaise, Ronan, Kai, and Nyah McDowell; Julia and Graham McDowell; Oak, Alder, and Maple Miller; and Lili Wegener, along with many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, brother and sister, and son-in-law.

The family would especially like to thank the kind and compassionate caregivers of Belleview Suites in Denver, Colorado, for their warm and attentive care over the last three years, as well as the nurses at Optimal Hospice Care. Their patience, understanding, and genuine concern made all the difference at the end of Mary’s life.

Arrangements are being handled by the caring professionals at Horan and McConaty Funeral Home where an online guest register is available at A celebration of Mary’s life will take place in the Spring of 2021 in Verona, WI with burial at the Verona Cemetery.

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