James Dewey (Duke) Cornelsen was born on November 25th, 1942 to Doris and Oscar Cornelsen of Texhoma, Oklahoma. His sister, Carol, was born seven years later.
Growing up in the little town of Texhoma, everyone knew everyone. Duke was one of the sons of the town, a big family of people who loved him. Those friends have been and still are treasures. One of the joys of Duke’s life was running into someone from Texhoma and having a good, long chat.
Duke played almost every sport there was, excelling at each one: football, basketball, tennis, racquetball, track, and later in life, his main sport was weightlifting. Duke was an outdoorsman, an observer of nature’s beauty. The highlight of his day was coming home and telling about a sighting of a creature that he would describe in great detail.
Duke graduated from Texhoma High School in 1961 and went on to OSU, graduating from there in 1966. He and Cheryl Miller were married in 1964. Their daughter Kristin (Barber), was born in 1966. The family moved to Sunray, Texas where Duke coached in the junior high. They later moved to the Texas side of Texhoma where Duke again coached, moving later to Guymon where he taught science and continued coaching. Later on, Duke changed from teaching to selling insurance and purchasing rental homes.
As with his daughter, Kristin, he relished every opportunity to be with his grandsons and pass on his love of sports and a variety of outdoor activities. They will always remember his love of nature and his joy in good old fashioned competition.
Another of Duke’s loves was traveling, going from the west coast to east, Hawaii and on to Europe. Especially in his later years, he found great joy in visiting new areas and seeing new sights.
Duke was a quiet, loving spirit who always attended church, the Methodist in Texhoma, then Panhandle Bible Center and 1st Presbyterian in Guymon. He believed in and loved our Lord Jesus all his life.
Duke is survived by his wife, Cheryl, of Guymon, his daughter Kristin and her husband Kelly Barber, of Benton, Arkansas. Two grandsons, Drew Barber of Benton, Arkansas, and Kellen and his wife, Priscila Barber of Montgomery, New York. His sister, Carol and her husband Larry Heimsoth of Amarillo, TX, and two nieces, Misty Heimsoth and Michelle Sandifer.
Due to the current covid-19 virus mandate by the state, no service will be held.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Coldwater Manor, 1111 Beaver Dr., Stratford Texas, 79084 for their excellent care and kindness they provided Duke.
Friends and family may sign the online guest book or leave an online condolence at www.hensonnovak.com.
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