Fulkerson - Stevenson Funeral Home It Is Our Privilege And Purpose To Serve You Springan - Stevenson Funeral Home
Fulkerson - Stevenson Funeral Home
Springan - Stevenson Funeral Home
It Is Our Privilege And Purpose To Serve You
Jerry D. Cornelia
August 30, 1954 - May 18, 2023

Place of Birth: Sidney, MT
Residence: Sidney, Montana
Age: 68

Jerry David Cornelia, 68 of Sidney, MT, left us unexpectedly and far too soon, Thursday, May 18th, 2023, at the Sidney Health Center.

Jerry was born August 30th, 1954, to Wilbur Otto Cornelia and June Fay(Mavity)Cornelia in Sidney, the 3rd of 6 children.

Jerry married his high school sweetheart, Teresa (Kelly) Kappel, in 1975. Though they divorced, they remained friends through the years.

As a child, his older siblings, Kathy and Donn, would tease him about being adopted. But with his Dad's temper and his Mom's soft heart, there was no doubt he was not.

Jerry knew at a very young age he was destined to be an artist. Sculpting came most natural to him, making roses with his grandmother at the age of 5.

Jerry attended school in Sidney and graduated from SSHS in 1972. After high school, he attended fashion school in Atlanta, GA, as well as pursuing fashion in LA. He returned to Sidney in the early 80s. Jerry then moved to NYC in 1985 and pursued his dreams in a variety of mediums. Jerry produced his own paintings, sculptures, and bird houses, as well as painting and designing mannequins and store front windows. After 10 years, Jerry moved back to Sidney.

Jerry said moving back to Montana was great for his art career. His art was shown in galleries across Montana and the United States.

He was known for the many whimsical titles of his paintings and enjoyed penning them as much as he enjoyed painting them.

He loved doing it all, sculpting, painting, writing, drawing, and creating elaborate candle holders and clocks.

His talent for the arts was rivaled by his cooking. His mashed potatoes, his apple pie, and his baguettes were all prepared with the same attention to detail as his art. He was known for the love of his pets. He had a special place in his heart for all animals. His well-known love of horses came from his time spent on the Mavity farm, and that love translated into many of his works of art.

Jerry was a champion of LGBTQ+ rights and a staunch democrat. A lot of people who met him will remember him. Besides his hard work and talent as an artist, he was a hard worker in so many ways. He also was an excellent dancer, and we HAVE to mention his fabulous hair!

Jerry is survived by brothers, Gary (Derick Paredes) Cornelia, Darrel Cornelia and sister Sharon Cornelia Shackelford. Nieces Becky (Kris) Yonts, Tedra Cornelia, Michelle Jundt, Leeana & Laraya Shackelford. Nephews Glenn Dotson & Landon Shackelford.

Jerry was preceded in death by his grandparents Otto & Bertha Cornelia, grandparents Glenn Sr. & Eleanor Mavity. Parents Wilbur & June Cornelia. Sister Kathleen Cornelia Dotson. Brother Donn Cornelia. Great nephew Ryly Verhasselt.

Please search the Sidney Herald archives for some great articles on Jerry.

Memorial Contribution
Memorials can be made in Jerry's name to your local animal shelters
& LGBTQ+ organizations.
Thank You
The family would like to thank everyone who has reached out and expressed their love for Jerry.

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Maureen Bock (Salem, Oregon)
May 23, 2023
Jerry was a very dear friend. I will miss his wit, kindness, and friendship. I loved hanving out with him when I was in Sidney. We would swap stories about growing up (especially when his family lived at the jail). I feel honored to own several of his works of art.
LARRY J VAIRA (Billings, MT)
May 24, 2023
So sorry.
Paula Thuesen (Dagmar , MT)
May 24, 2023
Rest In Peace, my friend, till we meet again.
Janet Atchison (Helena, MT)
May 24, 2023
So sad to see this. Not only were we friends, but lived across the street in Sidney. Such an artist.
Jill Staffanson Thom (Sidney, Montana)
May 24, 2023
What an artist..I remember seeing his artwork at his Grandma Eleanor's. I loved those horses with the big feet. It been an honor to know you. Rest in peace Jerry..
Shelly Haugen (Alexander, ND)
May 25, 2023
So sorry for the passing of dear Jerry. He was such a kind soul and talented man. He will be missed.
Shelly Haugen
Kris King (Livingston, MT)
May 25, 2023
I am heartbroken to have lost such a visionary, hilarious, talented and unique artist. His work, and himself as a wonderful person, made the world a better place. We have lost a great light and source of laughter and joy.
Deborah Zignego (Miles City, MT)
May 29, 2023
You will be missed, dear Jerry.. I was looking forward to seeing you this summer so I’m heartbroken that won’t happen. You were loved!
Colleen Johnson (Corpus Christi , TX)
May 30, 2023
My condolences to the family.
Charlotte Simonsen Guptill (Craig, Colorado )
May 30, 2023
Jerry, May you RIP. Will miss seeing what new artwork you would come up with and your crazy sense of humor. May your remaining family hold your memory’s dear.
Jay Williams (Pocatello , Idaho)
May 30, 2023
Jerry was a wonderful, long time friend of my mother Janice. He was also a good friend to my wife, Rhona, and me. Jerry was a wonderful human and he will certainly be missed! We are blessed to own one of Jerry’s bronze sculptures!
Steve and Donna Mullen (La Veta , Colorado)
May 31, 2023
Jerry..a very clear thinker and amazing talent!!!!
Joe and Nancy Moffet (Spokane, WA)
May 31, 2023
Jerry was a great guy, loaded with talent and a loving heart. We will miss him. Our sympathy to all who loved him.
Margaret Mikelson (Miles City, Montana)
Jun 2, 2023
Hanging on a wall in our home is a picture painted by Jerry and given to Ethel Page the year of her retirement. We have admired Jerry's work for many years and I was never sure which I enjoyed more, the art or the titles he gave his work. I wish I would have had the opportunity to have met and known him. Kathy, if he was every bit as nice as I remember you were in high school, I know he will be missed by many.
Martha Gorder (Lake Havasu City, Arizona )
Jun 5, 2023
My deepest condolences to your family’s. Jerry was one of my dearest friends. I think of him many times a day as I have several of his paintings and clocks. Such a talented artist in so many ways. Such a great cook. Not to mention his witty humor. He was one of a kind. Rest in peace my friend.
Beth Peyton (Bemus Point, NY)
Jun 20, 2023
Darn it. A year ago my husband and I went to Sidney to meet Jerry in person. He and I became fast friends on Facebook and developed a very close relationship. Jerry cooked us a terrific dinner. I'd been missing him and hadn't talked to him in a while. Sent him a text this morning and then had an awful feeling. The awful feeling was confirmed when I googled. I need Jerry! Will miss him terribly. I'm glad I have some of his art. I would love to have more, and I told him I wanted his dogs, too. I'm so sorry for the friends and family he's left behind. I truly loved Jerry Cornelia.
-Beth Peyton
Paula Thuesen (Dagmar , MT)
Aug 8, 2023
Forever in my heart. Rest in Peace, my dear friend.
Steve Shannon (Butte, MT)
Aug 8, 2023
I’m extremely sorry to hear that Jerry died. I worked one entire summer with him on a pipeline. I really liked him and always intended to call him when I got back to the area.
Donna Healy (Billings, MT)
Aug 9, 2023
I hardly knew Jerry, but I loved his artwork and his hysterically funny captions. I did know his brother Donn for years and loved his sense of humor, which I can only assume was a match for Jerry’s. I’m sure they are both sorely missed.
Paula Pearl (Oro Valley, AZ)
Aug 13, 2023
Jerry was a cherished friend. He was instrumental in helping through a rough patch. I will always be grateful for his presence in my life. A beautiful human being. The world will miss you Jerry.
Lester Ronholdt (Williston, North Dakota)
Aug 14, 2023
My deepest condolences to the entire family. I am so sorry for your loss.
Kehanna Johnston (Sidney, Mt)
Aug 22, 2023
I am so sorry to hear of his passing. He was a kind person. I knew him from my years of bartending. My condolences to the family and you all are in our prayers.
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