Vern Jon Corneliuson, 75
August 26, 1941 - May 26, 2017
Vern Jon Corneliuson of Bigfork passed away peacefully May 26, 2017, at home on an evening with a beautiful mountain sunset.
The oldest of five children, Vern was born in Kellogg, Idaho to Wilma & Chester (Chet) Corneliuson Sr. when Chet worked in the mines at Smelterville. The family lived on Lake Pend Oreille’, Idaho in a houseboat and in a tent where they celebrated Vern’s 1st birthday. Soon after, the family moved back to the Flathead Valley where they lived across the pond from Vern’s grandparents’ farm and near his other grandparents’ farm.
Vern spent most of his life in the Flathead Valley, attending Spring Creek School. He began his first year of high school at Grass Range and then moved back to Kalispell that same year, graduating from Flathead High School, Class of 1959. In 1961, Vern attended mechanical drafting school at Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, Washington, where he also worked updating drawings on the Minute Man Missile project.
In 1962, Vern married Mitzi Rose in Seattle. His oldest daughter, Jami, was born in Seattle in 1963. They later moved back to Kalispell, where their second daughter, DeAnna, was born in 1965. Vern built their first home at Echo Lake in the late 1960’s. Although he and Mitzi divorced in 1972, Vern remained dedicated to his girls, teaching them many life skills including carpentry, fishing, hunting, and mechanics, as he wanted them to be self-sufficient.
Vern married Sharon Noll Johnson in 1987. They lived at Echo Lake and later moved to the farm in Bigfork - his pride and joy, where he lived out the rest of his days.
Early on, Vern worked as a logger off and on in the family business with his Dad and brother. He later became a skilled carpenter, receiving training as a Journeyman Carpenter and completing a four-year apprenticeship. He became a partner in ABC Builders, worked at Matelich Construction and designed and built many homes, including his own. Vern worked on many notable construction sites including the Kootenai Dam, the Plum Creek Saw Mill in Libby, the Logan Pass Visitors Center in Glacier Park, the Kalispell Middle School, the original Woodland Park pool, the micro stations at Mount Baldly and Mount Aneas, the Arrowhead bronze foundry, the Canoe Gulch Ranger Station, and numerous bridges. Later, he designed and built many homes for his own local business, Sundance Construction.
He loved the Flathead and often expressed gratitude that his grandparents moved to the Flathead Valley. He was so proud to have acquired his farm property in such a beautiful setting; it was all he had ever hoped for – living life surrounded by the beautiful Montana mountains.
An avid reader of westerns and Montana history, Vern was a wealth of knowledge. He was also very proud of his Norwegian and Danish heritage. Vern was an artist at heart. He appreciated art and dabbled in many art forms including making jewelry. He also played guitar and Tonett, wrote songs and poetry, was a self-taught silversmith, and made children's wooden sleds.
A proud grandfather, Vern loved spending time with his grandchildren and loved to boast about his great grandchildren. He enjoyed listening to all the grandkids play guitar and sing. He often talked about how he wished he could have had more time to pass on his carpentry skills to his grandchildren.
Vern enjoyed antique car shows, fishing, hunting, gold panning, and being anywhere in the woods or on back roads looking at nature and talking about history and geology. He liked to give his grandchildren, especially Ross & BreeAnn, the opportunity to shoot a gun when they came to Montana for a visit, knowing they didn't have that opportunity where they lived. Vern loved that his grandson Ethan is such a good marksman and enjoyed shooting with him. He also got a kick out of shooting his musket into the air on New Years Eve and at gatherings.
Vern is preceded in death by his infant brother Donald Corneliuson & infant sister Janice Corneliuson; and his parents Wilma & Chester (Chet) Corneliuson, Sr.
Vern is survived by his wife, Sharon Noll Corneliuson; sister Mary E. and James Childers of Kalispell; brother Chet and Bette Corneliuson of Clinton; daughter Jami & Dr. Robert Lippencott of North Plainfield, New Jersey and their children BreeAnn Lippencott & Bradley Johnston & their sons Orion & Jasper of Griffin, Georgia; Ross & Manami Lippencott & their daughter Emi of Boonton, New Jersey; daughter DeAnna Corneliuson & Thomas Sapp of Kalispell, and their son Ethan; step-daughter Corrina & Alton Arnold of Challis, Idaho, and their children Aspen and Tre’. There are also several nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces, and a great-great nephew and niece. Vern also leaves behind many cherished cousins.
Vern will be greatly missed; we will hold him in our hearts and memories forever.
A memorial service to honor Vern’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 7, at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home. A gathering will be held at The Museum at Central School, Hollensteiner-Stahl Hall following the memorial. Friends and family are welcome. Memorial donations may be made to The Alzheimer's Association (PO Box 96011
Washington, DC 20090-6011, www.alz.org)