From a Guestbook entry by Elmer's son Richard:
Good Bye Dad, I love you and will never forget you. I will never forget the look on your face as the end of the rope slipped over the edge when I threw your new anchor and rope overboard without checking to see if it was tied to the boat, it was similar to the look you had when I was attempting to dock your boat and your arm was between it and the pier, or the expression you had when you found the jeep that I wasn't supposed to be driving was sitting sideways in Grad's garage, (you could see it through the hole in the fence and garage wall)about 6" from his new Jaguar. You did't fool me with that gruff resistance to come to any of my football games when you were listening to the game on the radio like no one would know. Thank you for being my Dad, for giving me the mother I still have and for Elmer, Nels, Pete, Mary Kay, Linda and Bunny I am so very proud of all of them. Rick
From a Guestbook entry by Elmer's sister Jessie Ann:
"Even though this holiday season has been saddened by the death of our brother Elmer, may the many good memories he left us with turn the tears into smiles. Just today I found a little plastic bag of miniature marshmallows that he sent me last year at Christmas. It had a little note attached that said 'since you were bad this past year all you get for Christmas is snowman poop'. Finding that little bag of hard marshmallows brought tears to my eyes but put a smile on my face. I fondly remember one night standing out on his deck in California looking at the stars through a coat sleeve (he convinced me that it would be a spectacular sight).....suddenly, 'someone' poured a cup of water down the sleeve drenching my face. He laughed so hard he had tears in his eyes. Even though my face was red and 'wet', I will always cherish the fun we had together. Last February, brother Jim, Dianne, Ray & I visited Elmer and his family in Cotati. When Jim and Elmer saw each other for the first time in many years it was the most heartwarming reunion we have ever experienced. The whole world seemed to stop as they looked into each other's eyes and they were completely oblivious to anyone around them. We had a wonderful visit with Elmer, Leona and family and we were so thankful that Jim felt well enough to travel there."
From a Guestbook entry by Elmer's grandson Jim:
"Saturday evening I learned of "grandpas" passing and I was deeply saddened. I spent quite a bit of time with him during my youth driving across country to gem and mineral shows. I remember going to the black hills and visiting an old friend he hadn't seen in 40 years. He still lived in the same house too. We drove to Fremont and Winslow and I was able to meet people that I would have never had a chance to. At the time I didn't realize that my father was sending me to him and grandma so that I might straighten up. I did grow up finally, and the few things that I took from grandpa and grandma have helped me greatly in my life. Working hard and trying to do what you have to do for yourself and your family were the main premises. (Quit yer whinnin' and Get to gettin') I admire you for what you taught me, and for the kind of person you expected me to be. I will take the best parts of you and do my best to pass them along". Jim
From a Guestbook entry by Elmer's brother and sister-in law, Wayne and Hannah Cornelius:
"Dear family, I'm truly sorry that I didn't think of sending a note to the family web with our condolences to Leona, and family. Our hearts go out to all of you, for the loss that you have suffered, we know how much Elmer will be missed. I'm glad Robin thought to write an email to the family web, it reminded me that I to have access to the same technology! I'm sure all of us have favorite memories of Uncle Elmer, and the one Robin wrote about is also one of my favorites. I had planned to cook a big breakfast to send them on their way, (if memory (joke)serves, Jimmy was with his Grandpa on that trip.) When we realized that they had left, we made a quick trip out to the lakes thinking that they might still be in town, we're thinking maybe Elmer didn't like goodbyes! Wayne just loved having his "big brother" here, they usually sat on the porch and chatted away. Robin was right about keeping in touch, none of knows how long GOD will allow us to be on this earth. Leona, you and the kids will be remembered in my prayers, asking GOD to keep you very near at this sad time. Our love to all of you. GOD bless"
From a Guestbook entry by Elmer's neice Robbin
"first of all I would like to offer my deepest sympathy to my family in California. The email Elmer Jr. sent was very bittersweet to me. Although I didn't know uncle elmer that well i do remember the last time he visited fremont. i think he was traveling across country looking for "big rocks" if i'm not mistaken. i remember how happy my dad was to have his big brother in town! but i also remember how he left too. we woke up one morning and he was "just gone!" no warning, no "see ya!" his big ole truck was just not in dad's driveway the next morning. dad said that was just his way. from your email elmer it sounds like your dad hadn't changed much! i think we all have a little of that cornelius stubborn streak in us. i just hope when its my time to leave this place that i can go just as he went..........in my own way, in my own time. thanks for sharing the story! he will be remembered always! luv, robin"
Elmer W. Cornelius passed December 4, 2004 in Petaluma, California. He was born in Winner, South Dakota on April 10, 1921.
Elmer is survived by his wife of 61 years Mary Leona Cornelius and daughters Kay, Linda and Barbara and sons Elmer Jr., Richard, Nels and Peter. He is also remembered by 20 Grand Children and 16 Great-Grandchildren
He follows his sister Dorothy (Cornelius) Bednarz, and brother Vernon (Jim) Cornelius.
Elmer asked that he be cremated and that no services be held. Those requests were honored. Family and friends gathered at the family home in Cotati, California, for a wake to honor his memory and all he had built in his life, from a strong hard working family, to friendships, and to his beloved yet never completed hillside home.
In a style appropriate to an ancient Norwegian, his remains were sent to the sea on a flaming redwood barge, in one of his display cases, and with his finishing hammer laid on top. The barge was given to the Russian River to pass over the bar just after sunset, where, as if reluctant to leave, the flames disappeared and rose again in the surf several times before turning away from this life.