Barbara G. Cornelius, age 96, passed away peacefully on March 2, 2019, at Hansen Cottage (St. John’s Lutheran Ministries) in Billings, surrounded by her family and caregivers. Barbara was born on June 28, 1922, in Durango, Colorado, to Ray and Edna Goodman. She was the youngest of three children. She graduated from high school in Durango, and attended college in Pueblo, Colorado.
Barbara married her high school sweetheart and love of her life, Myrle Cornelius, on April 21, 1944. After World War II, they made their home in Durango and had one son, Doug.
Barbara was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother. For many years, she taught dance and is fondly remembered by scores of her former dance students. In addition, she owned a children’s clothing store in the 1950’s for 1-2 years and was a co-owner of a fabric store in the 1980’s for four years.
Barbara and Myrle had many friends, and she loved to cook, entertain and host wonderful parties. They loved golf, visiting nearby casinos to play slot machines at least once a month, and watching the Denver Broncos. She was meticulous in her appearance and loved having nice clothes and jewelry. She and Myrle routinely had popcorn and champagne for brunch on Sundays. She was a longtime member of PEO and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Durango, both of which were very important to her.
Generous and welcoming, Barb always made the time to listen to others and to render sage advice. She was kind, gentle and independent.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Bill; and her sister, Marian. After Myrle’s death in 2010, Barb continued to live in her home in Durango for several years. When she was no longer able to live on her own, she moved to Billings and lived in assisted living at The Vista for two years. When she required more care, she moved to Hansen Cottage three years ago, which was her home until her passing.
She was loved by staff and fellow residents. She took care of those around her, and she always knew the names of her caretakers and their children. She always kept M&M’s and Starbursts as treats for her visitors.
Most of all, Barbara loved her family and they loved her. She is survived by her son, Doug (Susan) of Billings; her grandchildren Ryan (Annie) and their three children, Ella, Olivia, and Miles of Denver; Shannon (Patrick) Crowley and their son James of Wake Forest, North Carolina; Erin (Eliott Harmon) of San Francisco; Andrew, of Anchorage; and Frances of Billings; Casey Redmon of Washington, D.C., and Mary (Eric) Emmett of Billings. She is also survived by Fran Cornelius of Charleston, South Carolina.
A memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at Hansen Cottage, 3940 Rimrock Road. A second memorial service and inurnment will be held in Durango, Colorado at a later date.
Special thanks to the staff at The Vista and Hansen Cottage, for the wonderful care and love given to Barbara and to Jerry Loudenburg and other friends who looked after her while she lived in Durango.
Barbara made a tremendous impact on many people’s lives and will be missed immensely. She will be especially missed by her family, who can be comforted in the knowledge that she was a woman of faith and is in Heaven with Myrle and looking forward to seeing us again.