Ray LeRoy Cornia

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Life History of Ray LeRoy Cornia

Ray LeRoy Cornia was born on 13 September 1916, in Brigham City, Utah, the son of Peter Ray and Hannah Larsen Cornia.  Something happened in the birthing process which caused LeRoy to have problems from birth.


Records from the Wyoming State Training School where LeRoy spent 28 years of his life show that the cause of his injuries was “hemorrhage at birth.”


LeRoy lived with his parents until the untimely death of his mother Hannah 23 March 1920.  Hannah was only 32 years old.  Her death certificate indicates that the cause of her death was “unknown, but that it was natural.”  LeRoy was only 4 year old.


Famly members report that Hannah’s mother, Johannah (Hannah) Christensen Larsen took care of LeRoy in her Salt Lake City home for an extended period of time.  Eventually Peter Ray Cornia married Ethel Josephine Hyde on 22 June 1921 and the family moved to Wyoming.  Peter and Ethel would have four additional children.


On September 28, 1928, LeRoy was committed to the Wyoming State Training School in Lander, Wyoming.  LeRoy was 12 years old.  His original diagnosis showed that LeRoy suffered from epilepsy.  LeRoy also had a serious sight problem although he was not totally blind.  He did however have excellent hearing.  LeRoy had no formal education at this point in his life.  His committal papers also indicate that LeRoy was unable to care for himself.  He was able to feed himself but he could not button his clothes.


In a 1930 letter written by School Superintendent G.M. Willson stated that LeRoy


“is quite a favorite with the nurses and other people who come in.  A number of such people bring him small gifts when they come as he always seems to enjoy them so much.  He sometimes asks about going home but I do not think that he worries about it or is homesick.  He is a great boy to ask questions anyway and that is just one more thing he can ask about.  He can tell everybody about the place by their voice.  Indeed his ability in this respect is sometimes quite remarkable.”


School documents show that family contacts for LeRoy were his step mother, Mrs. Ray Cornia, Salt Lake City, Utah and his aunt, M.A. Dandis (Mary Andrea Dandis [Aunt May]) of Brytle, California.

It appears that at the end of LeRoy’s life he suffered from frequent epileptic seizures.  Ultimately this would be the cause for his death.  LeRoy died on 16 February 1957, at 8:45 p.m.  The stated cause of his death was cerebral edema with epilepsy.  LeRoy was 40 years old.


LeRoy’s body was taken to Salt Lake City for burial.  He is buried at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in Salt Lake City, Utah next to his mother and father, as well as his step mother, Ethel, and several other Cornia family members.  His grave location is:  Clermont, lot 58, space 1E.


Note:  Information for this history was researched and written Lewis F. Larsen, 18 January 2009.

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