With a heavy heart we share the passing of Neil Davern Cortus at the age of 65 following a brief battle with cancer. Neil passed from this celestial plane at 10:29 pm Central Standard Time on September 2, 2023 at the University of Kansas Medical Center with his beloved wife Becky Reiber Cortus, his brother Bill and his youngest son Scott at his side. Neil's other two sons, Chad and Brian and Brian's wife Ash, were also with him on the evening of his passing. He was predeceased by his parents John and Betty Cortus.
Neil lived life large. He loved his wife Becky and his extended family, live music, especially Rush, motorcycles, fast cars and the great outdoors. A self-taught engineer, Neil retired from a successful career as a project engineer in the electrostatic paint industry where he designed paint booths for objects as small as a cellphone to as large as a solar array pipeline system in South Korea.
Neil was born in Sydney Australia and emigrated to the United States in 1970 and was naturalized as an American citizen with his family in 1977.
Growing up in and around the Aussie bush, Neil and his brother shared many wild adventures. He cheated death on a number of occasions, including nearly sliding off a 40-foot waterfall, being hit by a car, being run over by the wagon wheel of a horse-drawn grocery cart, an allergic bee sting reaction and numerous close calls and crashes on his beloved dirt bikes and touring motor cycle, including escaping his dad's wrath when he jumped the family pool on his motorcycle while John was in the water.
While at Metamora Township High School in Illinois, Neil was an outstanding athlete, both as a wrestling champion and as a member of the 1975 Illinois state football championship team.
Neil met Becky in a dark period of his life. Becky brought a ray of hope and the love that inspired Neil to trust and thrive again. Together, Neil and Becky built a wonderful life together, including buying a beautiful brick country home on five acres of rolling grassland in the outskirts of Kansas City. Neil and Becky recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.
Neil loved tinkering with his big boy toys, including a classic 1987 Kawasaki 650 motorcycle with an interesting history of it's own. Neil's boys are committed to finishing that project in their dad's memory.
Neil and Becky loved to travel to wild and historic sights near and far from their home. They especially enjoyed riding their Tracker for hours on the Missouri backroads, where Becky shared countless idelic country and sunset photos.
Neil is survived by his loving wife Becky and her son Kyle Moore, sons Brian, Chad and Scott, two granddaughters Brooke and Bethany, as well as his brother Bill, niece Evelyn and nephews Chris, Adam and Justin.
A celebration of life will be announced at a future date at their beloved home in Buckner, Mo.