Obituary of Cornelia Corpus
Cornelia V. Corpus passed away at the age of 99 on October 26, 2018 while under hospice care at the Pacific Grove Healthcare Center. Cornelia is survived by her sons Edward and William Corpus, and grandson William Conahan. She was preceded in death by her husband, Guillermo B. Corpus, parents Alberto Velasquez and Petronila Frias, sisters Natividad Bayan and Benita, and brothers Gavino, Servilliano, Bernardino and Perfecto Velasquez.
Cornelia was born on October 2, 1919 in the municipality of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan Province, Philippines.
She was twenty-two years old when Japanese military forces invaded the Philippines on December 8, 1941. She remained in the Philippines during the nearly four years of World War II. After the end of war, Cornelia left for the United States on July 3rd, 1946.
Between 1947 and 1951, she attended the School of Nursing at Boston University in Massachusetts and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing Education.
She met her future husband, Guillermo Buendia Corpus, while he was majoring in Public Administration at New York University. They fell in love, returned to the Philippines and married on September 27, 1952. Edward, their first son, was born a year later.
Cornelia taught at Dagupan College School of Nursing, while her husband Guillermo held a professorship at the University of the East in Manila. Guillermo returned to the U.S. to resume his post-graduate education at New York University and to prepare for Cornelia and Edward to join him. He secured a residence for the family in New York City’s Greenwich Village, anticipating their arrival.
As Superintendent of the School of Nursing, Cornelia remained in the Philippines just long enough to coach her students towards attaining degrees at the top of their class. For the remainder of her life, she would remember this as one of her proudest achievements.
Mother and son departed the Philippines on July 10th, 1955. Reunited with Guillermo in New York City, second son William was born in April, 1957.
Cornelia began her U.S. career as a private duty nurse in New York City at French Hospital. After 1960 she attained the position of Assistant Director of Nursing and then Director of Nursing Services at the Montefiore Medical Center in the northern borough of the Bronx. She remained at Montefiore for the next twenty-five years until her retirement.
Her dedication to nursing compelled her to moonlight on her “days off”, riding the New York subways from her Bronx home to Park East Hospital in the borough of Manhattan. She secured for her now teenage son Edward part-time work as switchboard operator on the night shift.
During the time that the Corpus family resided in the New York–New Jersey metropolitan area, Cornelia’s brother Perfecto Velasquez had established his own family on the central coast of California. Cornelia and husband Guillermo would eventually join them there, purchasing a home in Seaside in Monterey County, where she moved shortly after her retirement in November 1985.
Her husband Guillermo passed away on March 31, 1991 two months short of his eighty-sixth birthday. Except for a brief residence in Las Vegas, Nevada, their Seaside home would be Cornelia’s residence for the next twenty-seven years.
Cornelia has always shown tenderness towards animals. She found joy in the company of her small dogs, and in occasionally hosting a visiting cat or dog for their vacationing owners. Feeding the wild neighborhood birds that called at her kitchen window and watching their antics was second favorite. Generous and kind, she was always ready to assist her sons, relations and friends in their needs.
Mounting health issues finally necessitated shifting Cornelia’s place of residence to the Pacific Grove Healthcare Center (formerly P.G. Convalescent Hospital) in 2013.
A funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, November 6 at 10:00 AM. According to her wishes, her cremated remains will be interred with her husband’s at Mission Memorial Park in Seaside, California.
The family is grateful to the staffs of Pacific Grove Healthcare Center and Hospice of the Central Coast, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, for their outstanding and compassionate care through the years and in the final days of her life.