Steven Cornelius ’72

25 January 2021
Steven Cornelius

Class: 1972

Major: Mathematics

Residence: Wayzata, MN

Deceased: January 19, 2021

Alumni survivors: Mr. Kenneth C. Cornelius ’66 P96 P97 (Sibling), Ms. Kari C. Hay ’96 (Niece), Mr. Jay A. Cornelius ’97 (Nephew)

Steven Cornelius Sr. of Wayzata, Minnesota died January 19th, 2021, at the age of 70. Steve was born on July 3rd, 1950 in Evanston, Illinois to Kenneth and Hollie Cornelius. He graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and returned to Illinois where he met his wife, Marie, and started their family in the suburbs of Chicago. He had a successful career with McMaster-Carr, which brought the family to Peachtree City, Georgia, where they stayed for over 20 years before retiring to the lovely state of MN — we think for the winters. Steve was a lover of music and played trumpet in several brass bands, was an avid Bears and Cubs fan, and he enjoyed doing taxes so much he picked up a retirement gig at H&R Block “for fun.” Steve is preceded in death by both parents, wife Marie, and brother Richard. He is remembered with love by his family: son Steven Cornelius, Jr. (Megan O’Reilly), and daughters Lisa (Jim) Tracy, Katlyn (Hunter) Seuntjens, grandchildren Evelyn, Charlotte, Louis, James, Mae, Benjamin, and Beauregard, brother Kenneth (Mary) Cornelius and sister Melanie Cornelius (Tricia Valentine), partner Robin Groenke, and many nieces and nephews and lifelong friends. 

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  • 2022-02-11 13:36:48
    Mike Miller

    It has been a tough week thinking about Steve's passing. As all of you know, Steve was beyond memorable. I always looked forward to talking/listening to Steve at any event we were both attending. He was one of a kind and a wonderful kind that was. We all will miss him dearly. No one could tell a story or a long joke as well as he could.

    If I were asked to speak at a memorial service, the following are the stories I would tell. They are in chronological sequence and most of them are secondhand. However. someone or some ones in this mailing list, could vouch for the almost accuracy of them. Fraser the Luddite is not on this list but he needs to see this to affirm some of my memories.

    Steve was a pitcher on his Rotblatt softball team as his skill was being entirely unable to pitch a softball over the plate and in the strike zone. It was an effective strategy as balls and strikes were not called in Rotblatt.

    He once claimed that he carried Fraser through Math 11 (Intro to Analysis was the course title I think). I could have used that help.

    An afternoon a day or 2 before graduation, Steve burst through the front door of Musser Hall where I was standing with my teetotaling veterinarian father. Steve was in the midst of not teetotaling and enthusiastically greeted me. I introduced my father as Dr. Miller. Steve thrust out his hand and said "Glad to meet you Don". I never checked with my Dad if he realized the source of the mix up. But Dad shook hands, smiled, and everything was fine.

    In Madison he was a salesman for 3M and had a car. He was the golden boy as his sales skills were meant for the job. Unfortunately his driving skills were not so good at that point in his life. After demolishing 1 or 2 company cars, he was asked to work somewhere else.

    Thus began his work at McMaster-Carr where he was beyond successful. He became a comptroller which means someone high up. Having never risen in private industry (I did participate), I don't know what a comptroller does, but Steve was good at it. He described telling those working under him that they should keep educating themselves because the work they were doing now was, in a few years, was not the work they would need to do. It was sage advice and I have read it and seen it happen. But I never had a boss tell me that. Steve was different.

    On fishing expeditions the rest of us would have nice fishing rods and tackle boxes full of tackle we didn't know how to use successfully. Steve brought and used his Popeil Pocket Fisherman. None of us did exceptionally well.

    Steve's birthday is July 3rd, the day I throw a party because what else is there to do on July 3rd? He attended and never said a word about it being his birthday except to me. Lout that I am, I never brought a cake for him.

    After Steve retired and moved to Shakopee (or its suburbs), he lived there for a while. He informed us at some event that they were moving. I innocently said "To a smaller place?". "No, a bigger place." I can't remember the rationale, but at points in his Minnesota life he has had 3 dogs, 3 kids, a lot of grandkids, and 2 wonderful women partners.

    Steve always struck me as immensely happy. It is hard to imagine participating again in the events where he was an attendee. He made a place, an event come alive and be memorable. I will miss him dearly.

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