Kenneth L. Cornelius, 61 | Lake County Chief


Kenneth L. Cornelius died March 28, 2022 at Logan Health in Kalispell after being seriously injured in a bicycle accident. He was surrounded by the love of his wife and children.

Ken was born in Ronan on November 5, 1960 to Lawrence and Lorraine (Solomon) Cornelius as the fifth and youngest child in the family. He grew up on his father’s dairy farm in Round Butte and graduated from Ronan High School in 1979. He began his education at Montana State University but returned to Ronan to run Cornelius Cattle Co. He sold the herd dairyman in 1998 and continued to farm the land. until 2019. He ran the farm as efficiently as possible and loved being outdoors with the view of the Mission Mountains.

He married his high school girlfriend, Renae Sampson, on September 8, 1984, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. He was a devoted husband and father to their two daughters, Brooke and Lindsey, and they had many family adventures together.

Ken loved being outdoors, especially in the Mission mountain range. He’s climbed almost every peak and even skied the backcountry when the weather permitted. His friends and family joined him as he enjoyed hiking, skiing, kayaking, biking, fishing, rafting, hunting, photography, and he taught those skills to anyone who wanted to. so they can have their own adventures.

He was nicknamed “Yukon Cornelius”, and it was well known that he wouldn’t slow down for anyone, so plan accordingly. He shared his routes with anyone who dared, and sometimes the instructions included going off the trail where “the bend is here in the brush, and you just have to know.” He liked Gray Wolf Peak, Piper Lake, Lucifer Lake, and a certain place where you have to belly crawl through a hole lined with mountain goat hair because these creatures do the same. He was known for climbing the highest peaks and calling his friends when cell phone reception allowed just to say, “Hello, there!” »

Ken got a natural high helping his fellow adventurers push their own limits and accomplish what they didn’t perceive was possible. He volunteered with Lake County Search and Rescue for years and would drop everything to help when the call came. One skill he taught was how to repel farm granaries. He would put Brooke and Lindsey in the harnesses, telling them he trusted their skills enough to bring down his own daughters. He continued his adventures with his darling grandchildren, who carry on some of his hallmarks, including off-trail hiking, biking, and tree-skiing.

Ken was predeceased by his parents, Lawrence and Lorraine Cornelius. He is survived by his wife, Renae, and the families of his daughters: Brooke and Jerry Nahring, with children Luke and Elaina, and Lindsey and Sage Dorrington, with their children, Rosalind, Eloise, Genevieve and James. He is also survived by his four siblings: Carlene (Gene) Vey, Diana Cornelius, Kathy Cornelius and Bill (Marla) Cornelius, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

The family express their deepest gratitude to their loyal friends who immediately helped Ken after his accident, as well as those who sent their love and prayers during our time of need. Their skill and care allowed him to fulfill his last wishes and say goodbye to his family.

Ken’s funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2022 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Polson, with interment to follow at Ronan Cemetery. A prayer vigil will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 1 at the Sacré-Coeur Catholic Church in Ronan. Condolence messages can be shared with family online at

Arrangements are the responsibility of Shrider-Thompson Funeral Home.

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