Lorrayne Cornelius


JOLIET, Ill. — Lorrayne Cornelius (nee McKelvey) passed away on July 24, 2013. She was born October 24, 1941 in Pine Bluff, Ark. She graduated from Merrill High School and Arkansas A M & N University, both in Pine Bluff. She moved to Joliet, Ill.,in 1966. She soon joined Mt. Olive Baptist Church and remained a faithful member until her death. She was employed by Joliet Public School District 86, teaching at Washington Jr. High School for 34 years.

She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Human Development from Governor’s State University in 1974. She was often honored as an educator and community leader, including Who’s Who Among American Teachers, the NAACP Outstanding Service Award, the Gold Star Woman of the Year Award from the National Hook of Black Women, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Soror of the year.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Emell and Mrs J.B. McKelvey, three brothers, Wesley, James, and Jewell McKelvey, three sisters, Alyce Hurt, Geraldine Beatty, and Lita Ann Lane.

She leaves to continue her legacy, and to cherish her memory, one sister, Thelma Willingham of Long Beach, Calf., two sons, Vincent (Zina) of Naperville, Ill., and Chrystopher (Jennifer) of Green Bay, Wis., one daughter, Shelia of Talladega, Ala., one stepson, Melvin Cornelius Jr., 14 grandchildren, and her former husband and friend until her death, Melvin R. Cornelius Sr.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, August 1, 2013 from 4-8 p.m. and Friday, August 2, 2013, 10-11 a.m. at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 1710 Carey St. Joliet, Ill., 60433. Service at 11:00 a.m., Dr. Angelo Hill, officiating. Interment following at Elmhurst Cemetery, Joliet, IL.