Today, on the 8th anniversary of the day 30-year-old Corey Poffenberger left many lives, we have two very special tributes written by his family.

The first tribute is written by Corey’s mother, Cindy Poffenberger, and the second by Corey’s sister, Kelli Sims. They have shared with us not only their heartfelt and moving memorials, but a number of photos capturing the spirit of one young man loved by so many.


Our Dearest Corey

By Cindy Poffenberger

October 24, 2011

Our Dearest Corey,

It is still hard to believe that you are on the Iowa Cold Case web site. You cannot imagine how we have hoped and prayed that there would have been closure to this terrible tragedy before this 8 year anniversary. I am writing not only on behalf of myself, but for your Dad, Kelli, Justin, and all of your friends and family that love you so deeply.

There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t miss hearing your voice, seeing that smile, or laughing at your quick wit. In so many ways it seems like yesterday and yet in so many others it seems like forever.

Many wonderful memories were made at our home on Central St. You were so proud to become a big brother. When we brought Kelli home from the hospital, you were so protective and didn’t want to share her with anyone. You, Kelli, and your cousins spent hours in the infamous toy room with the multi-colored ceiling tiles. I’m sure to this day that “Barbara Ann” still echoes in the walls. Tents made from chairs and blankets. Hide and Seek in the closets. Easter eggs colored by the dozens. Secrets whispered as you, Kelli, and your cousins would watch the grown-ups wrap Christmas presents from the upstairs vent. Christmas trees sprayed with snow from a can and tied to the banister to keep it from falling over. Snow men built, snow forts constructed and hundreds of snowballs thrown. And how could we ever forget that infamous fall off your bicycle, when Aunt Judy came to our rescue and you ended up at the hospital! You were so much like your Uncle Don, Grandpa Smith and your Dad. You could just look at something and know how to fix it. You were always tearing things apart just to see how they worked.

We remember how heartbroken you were to move to Hamilton, only to find that your best friends would be at that small town around the lake. Hundreds of escapades and memories with your buddies. Endless games of hearts and poker at the dining room table. The role of Danny Zucco in the class play “Grease” or the year those Marines
won the sectional. Spring breaks in Florida when everyone piled into that station wagon, or mowing Goat Hill, or parking cars for dances at Cold Springs. Countless rounds of golf, and hours upon hours of bowling with the gang.

With a blink of an eye you were off to IU. And your saga continued. From the residence hall, to Theta Chi, to the apartment with Jason and Shad. Remember you guys could sit in a room, not say a word and the laughter would start. Before long

you would all be rolling on the floor with tears streaming down your faces from laughing so hard.
You loved to laugh, you loved golf, IU basketball, music and movies. You loved life.

You always looked forward to coming home to visit and be with family and friends. You loved those family gatherings with that great food and euchre tournaments. (Like you always said, “Watch Grandma, she cheats!), and of course, karaoke and Summer Nights with Lesley.

Then to the Beach, Minneapolis and Des Moines. You bought your first home and you were so happy to have a mortgage payment! You were so excited when your Dad and I came to help you move in. You worked so hard to make it your home. I remember the smile on your face when we planted the new tree in the front yard. You thought it was the most beautiful tree on earth!

You always sought challenges in your work, and like so many have said, you just made life look so easy, but accomplished so much. You lived your life to the fullest, you were always the optimist. Everyday was a great day. You inspired those that surrounded you. Your quick wit, humor, unbelievable work ethic, and magnetic personality were the qualities that everyone loved. You strived hard and wanted to make us proud. You always knew how much we all loved you, and how proud we were of you.

I remember your voice so vividly when you called on Thursday night. You were so excited about your promotion. You had worked endless hours and we couldn’t have been prouder. You had made your flight reservations and would be coming “home” to the new house on the lake in two weeks. That weekend you were going to e-mail all of your buddies and let them know that you would be coming home for vacation. But that e-mail didn’t get sent…you were gone the next morning. We all felt that time had stopped and the world quit spinning.

Our hearts are broken that your time with us was so brief. We have so many unanswered questions….why would anyone do this? You deserved so much more.

With all our love forever,

Mom, Dad, Kelli, Justin, your family and friends


My Brother

By Kelli Sims

When the anniversary of my brother’s death approaches each year, I don’t have to look at the calendar and I don’t have to be reminded what month it is, I can feel it. Every year, for the last eight years, I feel different, act different, and think differently. I have an overwhelming sadness. Corey’s death has changed our family forever. Eight years ago I didn’t just lose a brother, I lost a part of my future, past, and imagination of what it would be like to have the only person that grew up exactly like I did, at my side.

I think about my brother each and every day. On most days I think about what he would have said, done, or acted like in certain situations. I also think about the good times we had together. Corey was the type of person that always made everyone laugh. He would tease me and instead of getting mad, I would start laughing. Corey was magnetic. Everyone that was around him was drawn to him. After my brother’s death, my husband told me that when my brother was in the room, my eyes would light up. I know in my heart that there are times that I still have that light in my eyes, but it will never be the same.

Corey worked hard, loved hard, and played hard. When Corey had a job, he quickly became the “go to” person no matter if it was working at a golf course, managing a club, or working for Mediacom. Corey always spent late nights and early mornings at each and every job he held in his very short life. This was one of my favorite qualities that Corey possessed. Everything he did he did with great passion and dedication and I feel comforted knowing that he didn’t take his life for granted.

Corey was very charming, charismatic, and someone that everyone wanted to be around. I deeply miss his smile, presence, and sense of humor, but most of all I just miss him. There is not a day that goes by that I wonder what he would be doing, where his life would have led him, and how deeply I miss him. I am proud and honored to not only know someone like Corey, but to be able to call him my brother.

Kelli Sims


** For more photos and to read more about Corey’s case, please click here.

Download the Reward Poster  PDF | MS Word

One Response to Our Dearest Corey – A Very Special Tribute

  1. Nikki Oberlin says:

    Dearest Kelli, Justin and Joe, Cindy,

    Thinking of all of you this week! Lots of love and prayers for you. Corey was such as awesome person. Hoping that your terrific memories can sustain you through this very tough week.
    Nikki Oberlin

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