Cover photo for Joseph Cornelius's Obituary
Joseph Cornelius Profile Photo
1966 Joseph 2021

Joseph Cornelius

April 9, 1966 — August 24, 2021

Joseph Jay Cornelius was born on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1966, at Jane Phillips hospital in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Joe passed in that same hospital, 55 years later, on August 24, 2021, after losing a month-long fight against Covid-19 and its related illnesses.

As a kid, Joe attended Bell Ringer School and Jefferson Elementary in Bartlesville, and Hays Elementary School in Odessa, Texas, before returning to Bartlesville to earn his high school diploma at Central Junior High School. He also participated in the Special Olympics.

In his adult years, Joe worked for what was then called the Association for Retarded Citizens, now known as AbilityWorks, doing everything from sorting recycling materials to assisting in the day to day operations of their thrift store. He also worked at Subway and Auntie Anne’s in Bartlesville, where he gave his unbridled approval for all of their offerings to any customer who encountered him.

Joe was not defined by his work, any more than he was by his abilities. From his youngest days he shared his humor, his hugs and his passion for all things delicious and fun with everyone around him. He was, for those lucky enough to know him, a living example of unconditional love; an unwitting but natural teacher of the best that we can be, if we can live simply: in love, and in gratitude for life’s simple pleasures.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Archie and Joanna Cornelius, his sister Rebecca Cornelius Smith, his brother Ron Cornelius, and his brother-in-law Larry Jones. He is survived by his sister Cheryl Cornelius Jones, his brother-in-law Jon Smith, his nephew Jacob Rolls and his wife Pooja Gehi, his nephew, Andy Rolls, Andy’s kids and Joe’s great nephew and niece Bryson Rolls and Chloe Rolls, his niece Mackenzie Smith-Kelley and her husband Jason Kelley, their daughters and his great nieces Maya and Willow, his niece Michaele Smith-King and her husband Robby King.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that anyone wishing to honor Joe’s life and passing do so by donating to AbilityWorks of Oklahoma, before enjoying a milkshake of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph Cornelius, please visit our flower store.


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