Cornelius F. Votca

Cornelius F. Votca, a longtime and well-known resident of Mankato, passed away in peace and love in his 94th year on January 21, surrounded by his children, brother and sister. He will be remembered as the loving husband of Phyllis Gentling Votca; father to Linda Carole Flies, Tom Votca (Karon Metz), Jeanne Votca Carpenter (Gary) and Neil Votca.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, January 25, 2010 at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Mankato. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 2 – 5 p.m., Sunday, January 24 with a 2 p.m. prayer service at Landkamer – Johnson - Boman Funeral. Visitation will continue one hour before service at church on Monday.

Beginning as early as his high school years, Cornelius remained an active member of the community, where he served in various leadership roles for numerous organizations. Until his passing, he was past president and current member of the International Student Endowment Board of Directors at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Cornelius was a member of professional honor Societies: Pi Delta Epsilon, founder and its first president while a student at then Mankato Teachers College and Kappa Delta Pi, a collegiate fraternity for business education; and Delta Pi Epsilon for business education. His awards and recognitions included: Minnesota State Department of Education Outstanding Contribution to Vocational Education; Exceptional Leadership Award, St. Cloud School District where he was Director of Adult and Extension Education at the St. Cloud Technical College from 1966-1985; U.S. Office of Education National Parenting Education Award; Missouri Valley Adult Education Outstanding Achievement Award; State of Minnesota Legislature Award for Parent and Child Development; Kellogg Foundation Parenting Award; St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award; and the Minnesota State University, Mankato Harold J. Fitterer Distinguished Alumnus Service Award. In 1977, he received the WCCO Good Neighbor Award, and in 1933 he was Minnesota State Debate Champion.

Leadership roles included: Mankato Chamber of Commerce “SCORE”, as a member of the small business retired executive team; Kiwanis Club President and Lieutenant Governor; Minnesota Sate University Mankato Alumni Board President; Knights of Columbus Faithful Navigator and Grand Knight; Mankato Symphony Orchestra Board; March of Dimes Polio Foundation; President of the Mankato Exchange Club and the Mankato Chamber of Commerce; St. Joseph the Worker Men's Club and Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts.

Cornelius met Phyllis while in high school, she as a senior class officer and he as Business Manager of the Mankato High News. They married on February 5, 1940 and in Detroit in the 1940s where he worked as a cost estimator at Ford Motor Company and at Harry Suffrin Clothing. Before his position at the St. Cloud Technical School, Cornelius worked part-time at Fisher Clothing in Mankato. In the late 1950s, he and Phyllis ran an entrepreneurial venture, the Park Lane Drive-In. He is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato where he earned a Bachelors and Masters in education.

Years ago, Cornelius and his brother, John, addressed the Mankato City Council to make certain Adams Street, named for their grandfather John Adams, one of the city's early contractors, remained a major thoroughfare.
Cornelius is survived by his brother John Votca (Phyllis) and his sister, Kathleen Willaert; grandchildren Tom Flies (Kris); Marc Flies; Jenna, Evan and Lauren Carpenter and great grandchildren Alexandra and Kendall Flies. He is preceeded in death by his wife Phyllis, son Neil and granddaughter Marette Flies.

The family would like to thank the staff of Pathstone Living for their attentive care and the nurses and doctors of Immanuel- St. Joseph's Hospital.