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Services and obituary information for:

Jerry Cornelius

Died September 9, 2016
Tulsa, OK

Services September 14, 2016, 3:00PM
Southminster Presbyterian Church
3500 South Peoria
Tulsa, OK 74105

Inurment (Cremation)
Private Family
Floral Haven Memorial Garden
6500 S 129th E Ave
Broken Arrow, OK 74012

Jerry Cornelius Jerry L. Cornelius, 77, of Tulsa, OK, passed away on September 9, 2016. Jerry was born on September 29, 1938 in Oklahoma City to Delphine and Meyers Cornelius.

Jerry was a 3rd generation photographer with the designation as a Master of Photography, a Photographic Craftsman by the Professional photographers of America and Associate of The American Society of Photographers. He specialized in commercial photography.

Jerry was a member of the Rotary Club of Tulsa for 53 years and the first recipient of the group's Service Above Self Award, the club's highest honor. From 2003-2007, Jerry served as the Executive Director of the Beryl Ford Collection. He undertook the job of digitizing and cataloguing the Collection, Tulsa's largest and most extensive collection of historical Tulsa photographs and artifacts, totaling over 200,000 items.

In addition, he belonged to several Masonic organizations including the Pilgrim-Rock Masonic Lodge, Tulsa Scottish Rite, Akdar Shrine, Order of DeMolay, York Rite Trinity Commandery and Grand Lodge of Oklahoma. He was also a member of The Tulsa Press Club, Founders Chorus, Professional Photographers of Oklahoma, Professional Photographers of America, the American Society of Photographers and OU Alumni of Tulsa. Jerry served our country as a United States Marine and was a member of Southminster Presbyterian Church.

He earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Oklahoma in Public Relations Journalism & Mass Communications. He is survived by his daughters, Janet L. Carmichael of Kentucky and husband, Brent; Jamie L. Danias of New Jersey and husband, Konstantin and Andrea M. Spencer of Tulsa and partner, Michael Green. He has 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.


Jerry Cornelius, longtime Tulsa photographer, civic volunteer, dies at 77
Tulsa World, September 13, 2016 by Tim Stanley

Jerry Cornelius For a good snapshot of Jerry Cornelius’ civic-mindedness in action, Tulsans need look no further than the effort to save the Beryl Ford Collection. Several years ago, when it looked like the extensive collection of historical Tulsa photographs would be leaving the city, Cornelius, a longtime commercial photographer, was one of the local residents who found that idea unthinkable and joined in a push to keep it in Tulsa. After helping ensure that the collection would remain, Cornelius then threw himself into an equally vital mission: preserving it. As executive director over the collection, he led the effort to begin digitizing and cataloguing the more than 200,000 items.

His motivation?

As he once put it simply to the Tulsa World, “so citizens have access to it in future generations.”

A third-generation photographer and leader in his field who donated his talents and time to various community endeavors, Jerry L. Cornelius died Friday. He was 77.

A memorial service is set for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Southminster Presbyterian Church. Moore’s Southlawn Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Cornelius was a native of Oklahoma City, where it was his great-uncle who became the first in the family to go into the photography business.

Cornelius moved to Tulsa as a child, and went on to graduate from Rogers High School in 1956. He then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oklahoma, where he was editor-in-chief of the Oklahoma Daily student newspaper.

In 1963, he joined his father, Meyers Cornelius, a former World War II combat photographer, to found Cornelius Photography in Tulsa.

The year also marked the beginning of his relationship with Rotary Club of Tulsa. For the next 53 years, it would serve as the main outlet for his volunteering. He served in various capacities including as club historian and Iba Awards committee member, and became the first to receive the club’s highest honor, the Service Above Self Award.

In other activities, Cornelius was active with masonic organizations, and as a member of the Tulsa Press Club was a contributor for many years to its annual Gridiron fundraiser as both a performer and cast photographer. He also enjoyed barbershop quartet and was a member and onetime president of the Tulsa Founders Chorus.

A leader in his industry, Cornelius was once the youngest president, at age 29, of Professional Photographers of America’s Oklahoma chapter. He was also holder of two PPA designations — master of photography and photographic craftsman.

The effort to save the Ford Collection was a Rotary Club of Tulsa-led project that began in 2004.

The project “was so up his alley,” said Cornelius’ daughter, Janet Carmichael. “He loved Tulsa and Tulsa history. He was exactly the right person for it.”

For her father, photography and history had always gone together, she said, adding that when he took a photo he saw himself as creating “a piece of history.”

In addition to his work with the Ford Collection, Cornelius maintained a large personal collection of Tulsa photos compiled from his and his father’s work. His family hopes to soon find a way to make that public as well.

“We think that’s what he would want,” Carmichael said.

Cornelius’ survivors include his three daughters, Janet Carmichael, Jamie Danias and Andrea Spencer; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


Please direct all questions to:
Sally (Lofton) Olah

Phone: 918-407-4088
PO Box 52443
Tulsa, OK  74152-0443


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