At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Holland Salvation Army
111 Spruce Ave.
Holland, MI 49423
Life Story / Obituary
A hardworking woman who lived life to the fullest, Twila Cornelissen was a blessing to everyone she met. She was a warm. genuine, and kindhearted woman who spent the majority of her life in the Holland area where she was the sort of person whom everyone wanted to know. Blessed to spend 51 years with the love of her life, Twila was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family tree blossom to include the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even the great-great-grandchild she adored. Life was not without times of trial for her, but she faced whatever came her way with a quiet strength and a graceful courage that were truly inspiring. Deeply loved, Twila will be forever missed.
Although the 1920s were primarily prosperous days, the 1930s were a much different story as the entire decade was covered by the blanket of the Great Depression. Jobs became hard to find, which drove the unemployment rate to over 25%, and things only went from bad to worse when a drought crippled much of our nation’s heartland for nearly two years. Despite the trials of the time, there was a bright spot when Twila Rose was born on June 21, 1933, in Allegan County, Michigan. She had quite an eventful childhood as her home burned down, and her family also had serious financial struggles to contend with as they lived in the “poor house” for quite some time. As a student Twila attended 15 different schools throughout Michigan, and in 1945 she moved to Holland when her parents divorced. The whole family came from Traverse City where they picked cherries, and when she was 15 Twila lived with her mother’s sister, her Aunt Bina Nead, in Grand Rapids. They were only there briefly before moving back to Holland, but these were some of her happiest childhood memories.
New and exciting changes were in store for Twila when she met the man of her dreams. His name was Gordon Cornelissen, and they met in 1950 when she was just a young girl of 17. Sparks flew right from the start, and it wasn’t long before the couple found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Twila and Gordon were married in 1953. Together they were blessed with the births of five children including Patricia, Jayne, Linda, Timothy, and Richard, but sadly, Timothy was stillborn in 1962. Their family again faced great sorrow when Jayne Lynn drowned in 1964, just nine days before her 10th birthday. Twila and Gordon predominantly raised their children in a home on Elmer Street, which was just around the corner from her childhood home, having moved there in 1958.
Throughout her life Twila was a busy lady. In addition to caring for her family, she worked at several area furniture companies including 12 years spent working as a hand sander at Chris Craft. Twila enjoyed this work, and she is mentioned in the Michigan Maritime Museum at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo in a piece called, “Women in the Boat Industry.” Her family was always first and foremost in Twila’s life, and in 2005 she was deeply saddened with the death of her husband after 51 years of marriage. As she grew older, she continued to live a vibrant life. After she turned 80, Twila traveled to Florida for the first time and also experienced her first dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
With unending love for her family, Twila Cornelissen made the most of the moment she was given while holding her loved ones near. She was resilient and resourceful with a certain sparkle about her that drew others near with ease. Never one to worry about what she had, Twila was devoted to giving to all who were within her reach. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her family will carry on in her footsteps.
Twila Rose Cornelissen, of Holland, died Monday, January 25, 2016, at Providence in Zeeland.
Twila’s family includes her children, Patricia Fowler of Allegan, Linda (Lester) Fischer of Holland, Richard (Alice) Cornelissen of Allegan; grandchildren, Deric Fowler, Stefanie Fowler and Rhiannon Espuet; great-grandchildren, Vendula, Dakota, Tyler, Donovan, Kingston, Tiyaana, Shaelyn, Keenon, as well as a great great grandchild, Tevea. Funeral services will be held Monday 1:00 p.m. at Dykstra Funeral Homes-Downtown Chapel, 29 East 9th St., Holland with Major Keith and Sherry Welch officiating. Burial will be in Pilgrim Home Cemetery. Friends may call on the family Sunday 5-7 at the chapel. Memorial gifts may be given to the Salvation Army. Please visit www.dykstrafuneralhome.com to sign an online registry or to leave a memory.