Patricia Edra Cornelsen © Fairview Funeral Home 08-2013 Submitted by: Ann Weber
A graveside service for Patricia Cornelsen, 93, will be held at 10:00 A.M., Thursday, November 7th, 2013, at South Mennonite Brethren Cemetery, Fairview, Oklahoma, with Reverend James Suderman officiating. Arrangements are by Fairview Funeral Home, Inc..
Patricia Cornelsen, informally known throughout her life as “Pat,” was born Edra Patricia Bloominger on St. Patrick’s Day, 1920, in Alva, Oklahoma and passed away October 28, 2013 in Bainbridge, Washington. She was sixth of the eleven children of Thomas Bloominger and Estella McEfee Bloominger.
Some of her Alva childhood memories were: walking several blocks home for lunch every school day; falling into a ditch and then being rescued by a businessman from a flooding torrent of water rushing through town; the extreme sadness of her mother after the loss to diphtheria of her five-year-old child (Pat’s older brother) named Charles; and an elementary school teacher exhibiting for weeks a sculpture of a small bunny rabbit Pat had fashioned from modeling clay during art class.
The Great Depression took hold when Pat was about ten. Including the parents there were twelve family mouths to feed and her father was often plagued by unemployment. Pat’s dominant memory of those years was pervasive poverty. She once remarked that having no shoes to wear was not an exaggeration. After graduation from high school, the $25 tuition for college in Alva was an insurmountable impossibility, and Pat soon went to work at a clerical job in the not-distant Oklahoma town of Fairview.
In Fairview, she met her future husband, Arlyss Cornelsen, who worked for the county, also in a clerical job. As did thousands of other Oklahomans in the wake of the Great Depression, the couple became “Okies” by traveling to California in search of better jobs. They were married in Redding and remained in the San Francisco area throughout the World War II years. Their two children, Douglas and Alan, were born in Oakland, where Pat and Arlyss lived in an apartment. Arlyss worked for the Bank of America and Pat took care of her two babies.
After the war, around 1946, they returned to Oklahoma as a family of four. They settled in Perry, where Arlyss took another banking job, a career he was to successfully pursue for the rest of his life, with the exception of one failed attempt at business in Clay Center, Kansas, to where the family moved after a year or two in Perry.
Pat became accustomed to moving and home-making in towns throughout the American west as Arlyss slowly improved his status in the banking profession by taking one job after another, finally becoming a manager while the family lived in Phoenix, Arizona during the late1950’s and early 60’s. Arlyss remained a manager in the banking business for the final decades of his career and Pat was blessedly able to leave poverty behind her.
After Phoenix they continued their seemingly unstoppable pattern of living for several years in one location and then moving on, residing in Santa Maria and Bakersfield, California, and even Las Vegas, Nevada, before finally, during the mid-1970’s, coming to a many-years stop in Gardnerville, Nevada, a small town beautifully situated in the Carson Valley beneath the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe. In Gardnerville, Arlyss, often known as “Arlie,” eventually retired permanently from banking, grew older, and, at 83, passed away in August of 1999. Pat was widowed at the age of 79 after a marriage of 57 years.
Pat’s youngest son, Alan, then living in Oregon, assisted Pat in a move to his town of Hillsboro, a suburb of Portland, where Pat lived for the next ten years. Her widowhood was made more secure by income from an automotive lube shop in California which she, Arlie and Alan had established years before during Arlie’s retirement. Pat’s Hillsboro decade came to an abrupt halt in 2010 when she became seriously ill and failed to respond to medical treatment. Her Washington state sister, Charlotte Hunt, along with Charlotte’s son and his wife, John and Brandi Hunt, moved Pat to their vicinity on Bainbridge Island where her health significantly improved under their compassionate care. It is likely that, without the Hunt family of Bainbridge Island, Patricia Cornelsen would not have seen her final three years. At age 93, she succumbed to heart failure on October 28th, 2013.
Pat’s husband Arlie was raised in the Mennonite Church. He is buried near his parents, David and Nettie Cornelsen, in the South Mennonite Brethren Cemetery south of Fairview. Pat professed an ardent Christianity and sometimes stated that at age 12 she had been saved by Jesus Christ. She will share the same gravesite with Arlie. May Pat and Arlie, reunited in earth and heaven, rest in the Lord forevermore.
Patricia and Arlyss Cornelsen are survived by their sons, Douglas and Alan, and three granddaughters, Leora Grasl, Mira Kenney and Nina Cornelsen. Patricia is survived by three siblings, Tom Bloominger, Harriett Doran, and Charlotte Hunt.
Condolences may be made on line at www.fairviewfuneralhomeinc.com.
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