Keith Thomas Kornelis (1948 - 2017)

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  • "Mary Lee - I just heard of Keiths passing in the UAF..."
    - Jene Vance
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    - James & Kelly Noble
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    - Melissa Cox
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Keith Thomas Kornelis, 69, passed away at home unexpectedly in Kenai on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.

His ashes will be scattered in the Kenai River in a private ceremony. The Kornelis Family is having a casual reception in Keith's honor from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center.

Keith was born in Bozeman, Montana on Aug. 31, 1948 to Thomas and Shirley Kornelis. He played basketball at the College of Marin in California before being recruited to play for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Keith graduated in 1971 with a degree in Civil Engineering. Upon graduation, he continued working for Green Construction. As a project engineer, he built roads around Alaska. Keith then went on to build and maintain Alyeska pipeline camps north of the Yukon for both Green and Arctic construction companies.

In 1977, Keith became the Public Works Director for the City of Kenai. He administered the construction of over 20 city buildings including the Senior Center, Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center, Kenai Recreation Center, Congregate Housing, Animal Control Shelter, Library Addition, Sewer Treatment Plant, Airport Terminal and Kenai City Hall. He also managed many improvements to the city's infrastructure such as the Kenai City Dock, Float Plane Basin, numerous parks, roads, and water and sewer projects. He loved his work and enjoyed working with Kenai residents to maintain and improve our city. Keith retired in December 2006.

Keith loved fishing and loved taking people fishing even more. He worked very hard at making sure everyone had a great time and caught fish. Many happy hours were spent on the Kenai River and in Cook Inlet.

He played City League Basketball for decades! His children grew up going to his games.

Keith enjoyed volunteering for his children's sports teams. "Big K" was there: coaching Little League baseball and Boys and Girls Club basketball and supporting the Kenai Kardinals swimming, basketball, and football teams.

In retirement, Keith and Mary Lee enjoyed traveling, especially to see family.

Keith is survived by his wife of 44 years, Mary Lee; daughter Katherine and husband Mike Wyman of Leonardtown, Maryland; son Kyle Kornelis and wife Emily of Soldotna; granddaughters Victoria and Diana Wyman and Hadley and Marietta Kornelis; mother Shirley Kornelis of Riverside, California; sister Kathy and husband Steve Posegate of Riverside, California; and brother Ken Kornelis of Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Keith was a friend to all and loved kids and animals. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorial donations to The Boys and Girls Club, 705 Frontage Road, Ste. B, Kenai, AK 99611.

Arrangements made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel & Crematory. Please visit or sign his online guestbook at

Funeral Home
Peninsula Memorial Chapel
5839 Kenai Spur Hwy.
Kenai, AK 99611
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Published in The Peninsula Clarion on Nov. 5, 2017