KEARNEY — Ruth A. Cornell, 92, of Kearney, formerly of Minden, died on Sunday, July 12, 2020, at Mother Hull Home in Kearney.

A celebration of life service will be at 1 p.m. Aug. 25 at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., in Elburn, Illinois, with Robert Wood and Doug Olson officiating. It will be livestreamed via the Conley Funeral Home Facebook page.

A private family inurnment will follow.

The family is honoring Ruth’s wish for cremation. There will be no visitation or memorial book signing.


Ruth was born May 26, 1928, at Davenport, Iowa, the eldest of seven children to Alfred and Gertrude (Merritt) Tosten.

She received her primary education from Decorah Public Schools in Decorah, Iowa, and then graduated as valedictorian of her class from Waukon High School in Waukon, Iowa. She then pursued higher education attending Bible college for two years in Des Moines, Iowa.

Her first job was at the age of 18 when she moved to Omaha, where she worked as a secretary. Ruth then was employed by Pacific Garden Missions in Chicago. She was a missionary in the Chicago metro area, where she would go into neighborhoods to speak to families about their children attending Sunday school.

In addition, the mission work also would include helping families with their basic needs. This work was perfectly suited for Ruth with her strong faith and caring ways.

Ruth then followed the Lord’s calling to Geneva, Illinois, where she worked as the secretary for the Geneva Junior High School.

At this time of her life, she met the love of her life David F. Cornell at The Pentecostal Church of Geneva. On Aug. 18, 1962, they were united in marriage in Geneva. To this union two children were born, Sandra and Rodney.

In the first few years of their life together they made their home in several states to be near family, until settling in St. Charles, Illinois.

While in St. Charles, Ruth was employed as an executive secretary for Ball Seed Co. and then accepted a position with St. Charles State Bank. She was employed at the bank for many years, working her way up to the position of executive secretary to the vice-president of the bank.

In later years, she and David moved to Nebraska to be near their son, Rodney. They resided in Minden, where they enjoyed their church fellowship with the local congregation of Global Missions.

On Oct. 20, 2003, she was preceded in death by her husband, David. Ruth continued to make her home in Minden until moving to Homestead Assisted Living in 2014, and then began to make her home at Mother Hull in Kearney due to health issues in August 2016.

Ruth enjoyed knitting, crocheting and reading, and always was curious about what was going on with her families’ lives, especially her grandchildren.

Ruth’s passion for following God’s will in her life was very important to her. This was seen in many ways, but no more so than the countless hours of prayers for those God had shown her were in need of prayer. Throughout the years, she and David also enjoyed traveling to attend church camps around the country and Canada.

Survivors include her two children, Sandy Wood and her husband, Bob, of Kingston, Illinois, and Rodney Cornell and his wife, Joyce, of Elm Creek; seven grandchildren, Jennifer Wood, Jonthon Wood, Jessica Wood, James Wood and his wife, Kim, Joshua Wood, Jerilyn Kliewer and her husband, Tim, and Claire Cornell; one great-grandson, Easton Wood, with one more great-grandchild on the way; two sisters, Jeanette Green of Crown Point, Indiana, and LaVonne Masters and her husband, Ron, of Rapid City, South Dakota; three brothers, Norman Tosten and his wife, Cleo, of Des Moines, Iowa, Nathan Tosten and his wife, Neta, of Ames, Iowa, and David Tosten and his wife, Vicki of Brookshire, Texas; brothers-in-law, Lloyd Cornell of Newburg, Oregon, and Ron Sanders of St. Charles, Illinois; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Besides her parents and husband, David, Ruth was preceded in death by her sister, Vivian Naber and her husband, Gerald; sisters-in-law, Faith Wilkerson and her husband, Bert, and Martha Sanders; and brothers-in-law, Gilbert Cornell and his wife, Lonnie, Jerry Cornell and his wife, Cindy, and Ted Cornell and his wife, Bea.

A memorial has been established in Ruth’s honor and is kindly suggested to the Mother Hull Home.

Expressions of caring and kindness can be sent to the family at

Nelson-Bauer Funeral Home in Holdrege, Nebraska, and the Conley Funeral Home in Elburn, Illinois, are in charge of arrangements.

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