Edna was born to Joseph and Emma Bauer of Alton, Illinois on May 30, 1907. Her father owned a jewelry store in that city. She married and had one child, a daughter named Lynda. Following a divorce, Edna supported Lyn and herself by working at the newspaper in Alton and even became a featured writer.
In the mid 1950's, she met Otto Cornelius who had come to Alton to visit friends. He was a widower who lived in Fairborn, Ohio. At the time, he was an executive at the Portland Cement Company. The two began a long-distance relationship that led to a marriage proposal. To the locals in Fairborn, Edna had appeared from nowhere to take up residence in the red brick house on Xenia Avenue. They were, in fact, married in front of the fireplace in the house that Edna called home until her death in 2003.
Otto was a remarkable man in his own right. As a young boy he cut his leg badly, but his parents could not afford to take him to a doctor. The wound became infected and eventually a neighbor took him for medical treatment. In the end, his leg had to be amputated. It did not slow him down very much. He was very athletic and played basketball. Later he turned to golf, a sport that he mastered. In Fairborn, he eventually helped lay out the golf course at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He aided the medical staff at the base hospital by testing artificial limbs that were being developed for returning soldiers. Edna used to tell the story of one "leg" that gave out during a round of golf. Otto finished the game, but cut an unusual picture dragging a prototype leg behind him as he passed the General's residence on the last hole.
Edna wanted to please her new husband, so she decided to try her hand at golf. After a few attempts, Otto suggested that she might want to pursue a different activity. She told him that she had always wanted to try painting. He bought her paints, paper, and an easel. He went out to golf, and she, though over the age of fifty, began to paint.
Her great friend, Betsy Priaulx, described her work saying: "She often painted local scenery, but also copied pictures she liked. Her favorite spot for painting was standing by the big kitchen window - and she painted VERY fast! She often told me that if she couldn't complete a picture in less than half a day, she'd give up on it. I'm sure she would do touch-ups later. She loved working with watercolors - mostly bright colors, which surprised me. (I always had thought of watercolors as being more subdued.)
Eddie was an active member of the Arts community in the Dayton area. She painted for the pure enjoyment of it and gave away some of her paintings as gifts to friends and family. When she died in 2003, the family invited friends to select from the many pictures that Edna left as a part of her legacy. Still, some paintings remain unclaimed. Those of us who love Edna wish to preserve her life's work. Some of the paintings shown in the gallery are available for adoption. The main requirements for those who wish to receive one are: