Cover photo for Elizabeth "Bess" Ann Cornwell's Obituary
Elizabeth "Bess" Ann Cornwell Profile Photo

Elizabeth "Bess" Ann Cornwell

September 9, 1922 — June 5, 2010

Elizabeth "Bess" Ann Cornwell, 87, longtime resident of Upper Prairie Creek, Joseph, died June 5 at a care center in Boise. A graveside service will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at Joseph Cemetery. The family requests no flowers. Bollman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

She was born Sept. 9, 1922, the youngest of four brothers and a sister to Frank and Anna (Martinek) Pecinovsky in Protivin, Iowa. Bess was raised by her extended family after her mother died when she was 3.

Bess first came to Wallowa County in 1942 when she visited her brother, Ben, who was serving in the Army. She met Arnold Byron Cornwell and married him Oct. 26, 1943. She didn't go back to Iowa until the 1980s when she returned to reconnect with her Midwestern roots.

Bess was a working partner in the ranch on upper Prairie Creek for 56 years - working the fields as well as creating a home for the couple's two sons, Jim and Jerry. Those who knew Bess say she was at home in the kitchen and had her share of hunting and fishing stories to tell.

Bess was a spotter for the U.S. Air Force Ground Observer Corps from 1951 to 1959 and continued her watchful response to the sound of planes well into the final years on her life.

She loved the outdoors and had a sharp eye for elk and deer grazing the fields and slopes around their ranch home. Bess and her husband were members of the Little Swiss Rovers Good Sam Club and "snowbirded" in Arizona for 25 years. Their travels took them to nearly every state and Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

She is survived by her sons, Jim and his wife, Linda, of Boise and Jerry and his wife, Connie of Evergreen, Colo.; several grandchildren; two great-granddaughters; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families.

Bess was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Arnold; brothers, Edward, Alois, William and Benjamin; and sister, Carolyn Hovorka.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Wallowa Memorial Hospital or any charity.


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