Kornelsen, Mary (1911-1988)

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Maria "Mary" Kornelsen: teacher and principal; born 16 April 1911 in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada to Gerhard G. Kornelsen (1878–1958) and Anna (Dyck) Kornelsen (1882–1982). She was the oldest child in a family of two sons and one daughter. After a life-time of teaching children, Mary Kornelsen, age 77, died while resident in Steinbach (Manitoba, Canada) on 12 September 1988, and is buried in the Steinbach Cemetery.

In January 1928 Mary Kornelsen started teaching on a Temporary Permit in Mitchell, a one-room district school near Steinbach at the age of 16. After 18 months she attended Normal School in Winnipeg, Manitoba and returned to Mitchell School District for four more years. She then transferred to Steinbach to teach Grade 1 for five years before undertaking various other responsibilities. These included teaching at Normal School in Winnipeg, and overseeing a rural Model Teaching School. In 1942 she returned to Steinbach to teach intermediate classes for a few years, and then specialized in Grade One. For seven years she also conducted short courses in Primary Methods at special teacher-training summer courses in Winnipeg. In 1946 she was appointed the Principal of Kornelsen School, a school named in honor of her family which had three generations of teachers by that time, and continued in that position to June 1964, when the school was dismantled. She continued to teach in another school until retirement in June 1971, ending a career spanning well over 40 years in education.

Mary was a long-time member of the Steinbach Mennonite Brethren Church, where she served as Sunday school teacher. For her service to the community she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal in 1953 and the Centennial Medal in 1967. In 1974 she published her autobiography entitled Give Me This Mountain.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 7.01 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2012: #102752.

Kornelsen, Mary. Give Me This Mountain. Steinbach, MB: Derksen Printers: 1974.

"Mary Kornelsen." The Carillon (21 September 1988): 8B.

Schellenberg, John K.  Schools – Our Heritage. Steinbach, MB: Hanover School Division, 1985: 131-133.

Author(s) Ernest Braun
Date Published January 2013

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MLA style

Braun, Ernest. "Kornelsen, Mary (1911-1988)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2013. Web. 22 May 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kornelsen,_Mary_(1911-1988)&oldid=82884.

APA style

Braun, Ernest. (January 2013). Kornelsen, Mary (1911-1988). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kornelsen,_Mary_(1911-1988)&oldid=82884.

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