Cornelius (Neil) was born at Leinen, Saskatchewan into a Christian family. His father was a minister, and every morning at the breakfast table, the family would read a portion of the Bible and he would pray. In the evenings, his dad would read another portion of Scripture and the whole family would get down on their knees, each one praying in turn. This left a deep and lasting impression on Neil's heart. They lived 10 1/2 miles from church, and since their only mode of transportation was with horses, they were only able to attend in summer when the weather was good. But whenever they were able to attend, his father did the preaching.
Neil attended school until he was 15. From then on, he had to stay home and take over the farming.
About that time, he struggled for a long time with a deep sense of conviction of sin. He was fearful because he knew he was not ready to meet God. One night in March 1944, that burden became so heavy that he could not sleep. Finally he prayed to God, confessing his sin. Instantly the burden was lifted and the fear he'd wrestled with moments before was replaced with joy. Even so, he often doubted that he was really saved. Between January 1953 and April 1955, he was able to attend Briercrest Bible College. There, under the teaching of God's Word, he received full assurance of his salvation, and God's Word became very precious to him.
In 1955, he married Rose Friesen. For the first few years, they tried to make ends meet on his parent's farm but the soil was poor and the years were dry, and in 1958, they moved to Alberta. For the next several years, they moved from one place to another, wherever there was a farm job available.
In 1964, God provided through the kind and generous help from a dear friend and neighbour, and they were able to rent an acreage just outside Lethbridge. This was the beginning of 28 years as a dairy farmer. Step by step God led and provided. In 1969, the family rented a farm near Daysland, Alberta. Then in the spring of 1974 they were able to buy a half-section of land at Strome, where they lived until July 1997. In April 1998, they moved to Three Hills for their retirement. Neil was moved into Trochu Care Centre on July 29, 2015 and then into Westview Community Care on January 22, 2016 where he lived until his passing.