Joseph Courtney

Joseph Courtney

Monday, December 15th, 1924 Saturday, May 30th, 2020

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Obituary for Joseph Vernon Courtney

Joseph Vernon Courtney, age 95, of Bonner Springs, Kansas, passed away on Saturday, May 30th, 2020. Visitation 9:30-11:00 a.m., Mass 11:00 a.m. both Tuesday, June 16th, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Shawnee, Kansas, (masks needed to enter building), entombment to follow in the Gate of Heaven Mausoleum in Kansas City, Kansas.
Joe passed away at 95 years of age from injuries received working on his farm. We didn’t want him to go - but he left doing what he enjoyed.
Joe was born on December 15, 1924, in Kansas City, KS, to Vern and Beatrice (Welch) Courtney - the first of six
children. Early on, Joe went to live with farming relatives in Baring and Edina, MO, because - “they had food” as
he told it. He called this period the happiest of his childhood - riding horses, fishing, and hunting with cousins and
extended family. Joe’s ability to enjoy his situation, work, and play hard, ignoring adversity, was the hallmark of
his character.
Joe attended Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, KS. After school, he worked as a grocery clerk and
delivery boy. Graduating in 1943, Joe was drafted by the Army, training as a field lineman. He landed at Utah
Beach in Normandy exactly one week after D-Day as part of the second wave. By June 1944, he traveled across
France, the Ardennes Belgium, and Huertgen forest in Germany, receiving five battle stars and a Presidential Unit
Citation. Joe embodied the motto of the 22nd infantry regiment "Deeds Not Words" - for most of his life, he rarely
mentioned these actions.
In 1951, Joe married Billie Hite, a beautiful, hardworking, creative woman. Joe’s solid character balanced Billie’s
independence in their 68 years and four children together. Joe worked for Mobil Oil and later as a tradesman,
eventually joining Billie and other family members in their own printing and mailing business. The business grew
through the 1960s prospered and peaked by the late 1980s when Joe retired.
Joe’s last twenty years were split between caring for Billie as she declined through stroke and dementia and
working outdoors on his small farm in Bonner Springs, KS. Joe enjoyed tending cattle, horses, tinkering with
tractors, shortwave radio, and eventually learning social media. Daughter Jan (Courtney) Kierl with husband Pat
lived next to Joe, and son Tim Courtney lived on his other side. This arrangement was a godsend for Joe and Billie
as they aged - Tim, Jan, and Pat have the appreciation of all those who loved Joe and Billie for years of care and
Joe enjoyed his family; brother Jack, wife Carol, his sister Margaret, and husband Al, were vital to helping us keep
him as long as we did. Lately, he was learning to “messenger” his brother Bob in Panama and sister in law Nora
and her family in northern California. With Joe's imperturbable demeanor, son John's weekly calls brought joy as
they repaired fencing, cut trees, maintained grounds, and shared banter. Dutiful son Steve contributed to home
repair and assisted with business affairs in his last years.
Joe will never be forgotten by those who had the privilege to know him.
Joe is preceded in death by his wife, Billie, brother Dick, and sister Patricia. He is survived by brothers Bob and
Jack, sister Margaret, his four children, four grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 | 9:30am - 10:45am
    Sacred Heart Catholic Church
    Johnson Dr. & Monticello Rd.
    Shawnee, KS
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
    9:30am - 10:45am
  • Service

    Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Sacred Heart Catholic Church
    Johnson Dr. & Monticello Rd.
    Shawnee, KS
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
    Mass at 11:00 am and Rosary service at 10:45 am.
  • Interment

    Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery
    Parallel Parkway
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |

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