Cornelius Muse

1931 - 2013


Cornelius Muse

Sept. 8, 1931 — May 10, 2013

Cornelius Johannes Muse (“Corey”) passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday, May 10, 2013. He was 81.

Corey was born Sept, 8, 1931, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His parents were immigrants from Holland who moved to the U.S. in 1923. Just before turning 1, his parents divorced and Corey and his only sibling, Marion, were raised by their mother. Corey graduated from West High in 1948. Shortly after his 17th birthday, Corey began the fall quarter at the University of Utah. During his freshman year, he began to refine his skills in art. Corey attended the university for just over a year before leaving to work and save money for an LDS mission.

In December 1950, Corey left for his mission to Holland. After many memorable experiences (and becoming very Dutch), he returned in May 1953 to Salt Lake, where he met the love of his life and soon-to-be wife, Shirley Pierce. In fact, their courtship lasted just a few weeks before they were married on Aug. 19, 1953. Not long after, in October 1953, Corey was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. On the first night of basic training, his platoon was awakened for roll call and promptly marched to the barber. Corey’s thick, wavy hair was shaved off, never to return (at least that’s what he always blamed it on.) Corey was assigned to the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico, where he and Shirley lived until being honorably discharged in 1955.

Just before being discharged, Corey took a few days leave to return to Salt Lake and apply again to the University of Utah. After being in Holland for 21/2 years and the U.S. Army for nearly two years, Corey was back in school in September 1955. Three years later, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in in art and had completed the requirement for a teaching certificate. Just before graduation, Corey learned he had been awarded a federal and state grant to pursue a masters degree in educational psychology. He started his program in the fall of 1958. Two years later, Corey graduated with his master’s in educational psychology and had trained as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. hat summer, he began working for the Utah State Office of Education, but quit in December. Corey, Shirley, and young sons Jeff and Scott, decided to move to Samoa.

Corey was hired as a guidance counselor at The Church College of Western Samoa in Pesega, Western Samoa. The family lived in Western Samoa for almost three years, enjoying many wonderful experiences and developing a true and never-ending love of the Samoan people and culture. They also added to the family by “adopting” Olive, only a few years younger than Corey and Shirley, but their new Samoan son nonetheless. After returning from Samoa, Corey was accepted in the doctoral program at Brigham Young University. In May 1966, he was awarded his Ph.D., with distinction, in educational administration. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Walla Walla, where Corey began his career teaching in the education department at Whitman College.

At Whitman, Corey served as chair of the Department of Education for 11 years and director of Teacher Education for 16 years. He was selected to fellowship programs at Stanford University, Purdue University and Middlebury College. Corey also taught Summer courses as a visiting professor at Central Washington State College, Alaska Methodist University, Gonzaga University and Washington State University. He initiated and conducted three Whitman student interim trips to Samoa and two to Alaska, which included canoeing the Yukon River. Corey loved teaching the students at Whitman and was a beloved professor.

Teaching at Whitman also afforded Corey and his family, which now included his third son Dirk, the opportunity to travel on sabbatical and live for a year in England and then again in Samoa, where he and Shirley wrote a book on Samoan birds and bird lore. Corey traveled with his family to Alaska over many summers. He was an avid fisherman and photographer and loved his trips to Alaska where he could enjoy these activities. After retiring from Whitman, Corey and Shirley continued their summer trips to Alaska, traveling all around the state and also working for the National Park Service. Corey’s experiences in Holland, Samoa, Utah, Alaska, and Washington greatly influenced his life and provided wonderful memories that he reflected on daily until his passing.

Corey loved sports (basketball, volleyball, softball to name a few), fishing, drawing, woodworking, baking, telling stories about his life adventures, family, and teaching, and giving people a ribbing sometimes. He loved a good laugh. In his memoirs, Corey wrote about some of the things he liked in life, such as good cheese, almost all puddings, olie bolen, fresh homemade bread, wide open spaces, palm trees, most operas, Rembrandt, singing, warm weather and cool nights, well maintained grass, and good language and writing, just to name a few. He also wrote about some of the things he didn’t like: boiled fish, scalloped potatoes, ice cream, spiders, Elvis Presley, unfriendly dogs, up-talk, and “Ya know what I’m sayin’?”

Corey is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Shirley; sister Marion Zippro; sons Jeff and Dirk; daughter-in-law Samantha; grandchildren Jed, Kaleb, Kyra, Sophia, and Max; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother, Anna Marie, and son, Scott. Corey will be dearly missed as a companion, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, artist, and smart aleck – we’re confident he’s somewhere now with warm weather, eating a good cheese sandwich made with homemade bread, and looking out over a wide open space – ya know what we’re sayin’?

A celebration of Corey’s life is scheduled for Saturday, June 22, 2013, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Whitman College Amphitheatre, in Walla Walla.


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