Mary Katherine Williams Courtney was born December 2, 1926, in the Monterey community of Rankin County, Mississippi. She passed peacefully into eternal rest on February 23, 2023.
Katherine grew up in the Monterey community with her parents and brother. She attended school at Florence and Monterey, going afterward to work. Here begins a love story that reads like a novel. While Katherine was walking down Capitol Street in downtown Jackson, a soldier passing in a military jeep took notice of her. He told his comrades to stop the jeep immediately, that was the girl he was going to marry. On October 13, 1943, that soldier, Roger Wendall Courtney, married Katherine, just as he said he would. They were married at Katherine’s uncle’s home in Simpson County, Mississippi.
As World War II continued to rage, their love story continued to bloom. Katherine worked as a “Rosie” during the war building “gidgets”, as she called them, for military airplanes. Roger was stationed at the Clinton, Mississippi POW camp. Soon, Roger was deployed to the war front in England. From there, he was sent to California to await deployment to the Japanese front. While waiting in California, the war ended, and Katherine discovered she was pregnant with their first of five children. The end of the war brought them back to Mississippi.
In 1952, their family moved to Indiana. They later moved back to Mississippi from Indiana in 1960. In 1966, Roger and Katherine moved their house, the actual house, in three pieces from Clinton to their homestead in the Monterey community. Here, they raised their family of five which grew to include twelve grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren, whom they loved dearly.
After twenty-five years, Katherine retired from the law firm of Heidleburg, Woodliff, and Franks in the late 80s. Following her retirement, Katherine enjoyed tending her flower gardens and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that are still enjoyed today. She and Roger kept chickens and grew acres of garden crops. Katherine enjoyed teaching her grandchildren and great-grandchildren how to make cookies, reading to them, watching them play in the giant sandpit, making homemade slip and slides and playing with them under the big pecan tree.
Katherine was a long-time member of Monterey United Methodist Church, which was founded by her grandfather and five others. Over the years, she taught Sunday school, led singing, and worked with youth, among many other roles.
Katherine is preceded in death by her parents David Fulton Williams and Mary Pearl Foshee Williams; husband of fifty-one years, Roger Wendall Courtney; sons Larry Douglas Courtney and Eddie Smithson Courtney and daughter Peggy Lynette Courtney Barker.
She is survived by daughter Connie Sue Courtney Cherry (Joe) of Florence; son, David Monroe Courtney (Liz) of Davis, WV; twelve grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren, several of whom are her namesake.
Pallbearers are Doug Usry, Paul Courtney, James Courtney, Chris Courtney, Duane Courtney, Matthew Courtney, and Heath Barker.
Honorary pallbearers are James Cherry, Tony Crapps, Joseph Crapps, Jay Raymond, Jeramey Hill, Kevin Hall, Michael Sanders, Tanner Courtney, Paxton McHan, Dillon Usry, Britton Raymond, Jackson Raymond, Aiden Courtney, and Gabriel Courtney.
Funeral services were entrusted to Chancellor Funeral Home in Florence, Mississippi. Visitation will be Monday, February 27, 2023, from 5:00PM to 7:00PM and Tuesday, February 28, 2023, from 10:00AM to 11:00 AM. The service will be at 11:00 at the Chancellor Chapel with burial immediately following at Briar Hill Cemetery.
Online guestbook may be signed at www.chancellorfuneralhome.com.