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Velmabelle Cornford

RAPID CITY | Velmabelle “Velma” Cornford, 85, passed away on Dec. 3, 2017.

Velma was born in Pueblo, CO, to Harold and Mamye Rupert. Velma was the middle sibling of five. Velma spent her childhood in Pueblo and graduated from Central High one year ahead of the rest of her class. She went on to college and graduated from Colorado A&M, the University of Colorado in Fort Collins. Her degree allowed her to become a National Registered Dietitian. Later in life, Velma went on to earn a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota. It was while attending Colorado A&M and working at a local movie theater, she met her husband Dr. Raymond C. Cornford. The two were wed June 6, 1953. Velma had one child, Raymond C. Cornford Jr., born May 1955.

Velma enjoyed her work as a Dietitian working in several hospitals around the country as Velma and Ray’s life and ambitions progressed. The family finally settled in Rapid City in the winter of 1969; where both went into private practice. Velma additionally taught nursing students from the University of South Dakota in nutrition.

Prior to retirement, Velma and Ray Sr. went on several cruises and traveled a great deal around the country. Both were part of a group of physicians traveling to and touring China, shortly after China was opened to outside visitors after Mao’s death. The purpose of this trip was to exchange medical information and techniques with China’s medical professionals. Upon retirement, both began cruising on the high seas — including a three-month round-the-world cruise. They planned on continuing these cruises, but unfortunately Ray Sr. passed away in December 2000. Velma however, continued the cruises, often spending at least six months a year on the ocean. During these trips, Velma was accompanied by one of her two sisters, Catherine or Nellie. These trips continued until Velma’s dementia became too great. Once this occurred, Velma decided to move into Westhills Village. Which to her was like a cruise ship, she just no longer traveled! Velma was very happy with her non-moving ship and all her new friends at Westhills Village. These feelings continued until she passed away peacefully in her sleep.

Velma is survived by her four siblings, Catherine Shea, Harold “Bubby” Rupert Jr., Gayle (Royce) Grotewald, all of Pueblo, CO, and Nellie Dixon of Utah. She is also survived by her son, Raymond Cornford Jr. and daughter-in-law, Diana L. Cornford; her grandchildren, Raymond Cornford III, Allen Cornford, and Ann Cornford, and special grandson, Justin Maguire; and her great-grandchildren, Nora, Nolan and Owen Cornford. Velma is also survived by extended family, Mai Dietrich of Pittsburg, PA, Jeppe Riger-kusk of Bergen Norway, and Carol Jones of Eugene, OR.

Velma was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Raymond Cornford and her parents, Harold and Mamye Rupert.

Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Kirk Funeral Home. Velma and Ray Sr. will be inurned at 11:30 a.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis. 

The family requests in lieu of flowers, please send a donation for continued Parkinson’s research through the University of Minnesota. A memorial was established in Velma and Ray’s name, and if you are interested in donating to it, our thanks go out to you. Send to: Raymond C. Cornford M.D. & Velmabelle Cornford R.D., Endowment Fund, 200 Oak St. Southeast, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

An online guestbook may be signed at

the life of: Cornford, Velmabelle
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