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Kathryn Irene Cornelison

Dec 7, 1922 - Mar 8, 2017
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Kathryn Irene Cornelison passed away surrounded by family on Wednesday, March 8th. She led an amazing life. She was born December 7, 1922 to Charles Frederick William Schaaf and Anna Martha Schaaf (Coerber) in Deerfield, KS; and the family moved to Wichita a year and a half later where she grew up. Her beloved father died when she was seven years old at the beginning of the Great Depression. Her mother and the children worked hard, taking in boarders and doing various odd jobs to survive, yet they were always willing to help others. This is a trait that Kathryn carried the rest of her life. 
 
After graduating from high school in 1940, she became a registered nurse at Catholic Hospital. In 1945, she joined the Army Nurse Corps and entered basic training at Fort Carson. She then was posted to the American POW hospital in Clinton, Iowa; Ft. Lewis in Tacoma; as well as S. Carolina and Boston. After the Nazi surrender she was sent to La Havre, France where she spent Christmas Eve 1945, then on to Paris for New Year’s Day. She then served in Marseilles, Salzburg, Austria, and Berlin, Germany for 17 months. She witnessed much suffering and destruction during this time, and upon her return to civilian life she was committed to funding many ministries in the US and abroad that fight hunger. She worked for the Veteran’s Administration until 1949. She went on to receive her Bachelor's degree in 1951 and her Master’s degree in 1952, both from University of Washington. She taught Nursing at the University of Minnesota until 1954 then the University of Kansas until 1962. In 1961, she married Roy Burns Cornelison, a man she had cared for after he was badly burned in an Army jeep accident. From 1962-1968 they lived in Vienna, Virginia and had four children: Cynthia Ann, James Donald, Robert Richard and Karen Louise. Kathryn was very proud of the fact that she had "4 children in 4 years after 40; they came first in everything". In 1968 they moved to Washington, and lived in Enumclaw, Sunnyside and Yakima. She worked as Health Coordinator for Yakima County Head Start, and then was a nursing instructor for Yakima Valley Community College, until retiring in 1990. Her specialty was Pediatrics. She adored children and they loved her right back. She had a great sense of humor and her students loved the poems and ditties she would make up to help them remember information. Until she could no longer write, she collected poems and jokes sharing them with everyone she met. She brought joy and laughter, love and compassion to every situation.  
 
She was preceded in death by her husband Roy, brother Oscar Schaaf, and sister Alberta Born. She is survived by her sister Millie Hiteshew, her four children, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild, all of whom will miss her unconditional love every day. 
 
Thank you to Linda Remynse, who lovingly cared for her; Dr. Lascar and the staff at Cornerstone; Dr. Rasmussen and his wife Karen, the adult respite/day care at Central Lutheran, Mary Jane Ritchartz, her friend who lovingly fixed her hair; Pastor Ken Williamson at Mt. Olive; and all those at Apple Creek Adult Family Home. They loved her like their own family member and she loved them right back. Thank you also Brinkman family who she cared for as a teenager. They found her again twenty years ago and have showered her with love and kindness since that time. 
 
We will celebrate her great life on Saturday May 27, 2017 at 10:00 am in the Mt Olive Lutheran Church. 
 

 

 

Funeral Information

Funeral service

May 28, 2017:10:00 a.m.

Mt. Olive Lutheran Church

7809 Tieton Drive, Yakima

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Graveside

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