Dr. Cornell J. Runestad

Dr. Cornell J. Runestad, 87, of Wayne, died Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 at Providence Medical Center in Wayne.

Memorial services will be held Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 11 a.m at Our Savior Lutheran Church  in Wayne. Memorial visitation will be held Monday, Jan. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Wayne with family present.

Memorials may be designated to Wayne State College (the Dr. Cornell and Diana Runestad Scholarship Fund) or Our Savior Lutheran Church Foundation.

Arrangements are with Hasemann Funeral Home of Wayne.

Cornell Jesse Runestad, son of Rev. Jesse and Lillian (Hommersand) Runestad was born July 26, 1931 in Menno, S.D. He was baptized and confirmed by his father, Jesse. He attended public schools in South Dakota and Minnesota and graduated from high school at Oklee, Minn. in 1949. Cornell attended Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., graduating in 1953. He taught high school choral music at Princeton, Minn., Kenosha, Wisc. and Urbana, Ill. for 10 years. He received his M.A. degree from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in choral conducting from the University of Illinois. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served two years with the Seventh Infantry Division, US Army in Korea.

Prior to coming to Wayne State College in 1970, he taught at his alma mater, Concordia College, for two years, under his mentor Paul J. Christiansen. For 25 years, he was Director of Choral Activities at Wayne State, retiring in 1995. For a time, he was Head of the Division of Fine Arts. His Wayne State choral groups made eight trips to Europe during his tenure, singing in such venues as the Notre Dame in Paris, Westminster Abbey in London, the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, St. Peter’s in Rome and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. His last concert was in Carnegie Hall in May of 1995.

In June, 1965, he was married to Diana Rogovin in Kenosha, Wisc. and they had two sons. After 19 years of marriage, he was preceded in death by the love of his life, Diana, who died of breast cancer in 1984. Also preceding him in death were his parents and his three brothers, Lamar, Ray, and Merlyn.

At 5’10”, he was the center and leading scorer on his high school basketball team. Throughout his life, he was particularly fond of traveling and hunting. For the six years of his sighted retirement (1995-2001), he traveled and hunted so endlessly that his sons would often lose track of where he was. Though his sight loss brought some complications to such activities, he remained a thirsty learner, and determined to retain his independence, optimism, and good spirits. He was an active and engaged member of his Lutheran church, serving in many capacities. He was a man of deep faith, and his church family was extremely important to him.

Survivors include two sons, Kurt (Carly) of Lincoln, and their children Avery and Owen; and Eric (Anna) of Decorah, Iowa, and their children Ella and Leo. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Jane Runestad and Joan Foreman.

The Wayne Herald

Mailing Address:
114 Main Street
Wayne, NE 68787
Phone: 402-375-2600

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