Juanita Lucille Owings Courtney, age 98, formerly of Mount Gilead, died Friday afternoon, December 7, 2012, at the Kingston Residence in Marion.
Juanita was born in Nevada, Ohio, on January 31, 1914, the daughter of the late Alonzo Milo and Edna Clara (Traxler) Owings.
She lived in Wyandot County until 1926 when she moved with her family near Marion, Ohio. She graduated from Marion Harding High School in 1932. While living in Marion she was an active member of Lecture Recital Club and she played in a piano quartet which broadcast occasionally over the OSU University Broadcasting Station.
On October 22, 1939 she married her loving husband, Ralph Lester Courtney, who preceded her in death on May 30, 1991. They shared over 52 wonderful years together. She lived in Springfield during World War II while her husband served in the 661st Air Force Band at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. She worked in the accounting department at Robbins & Myers where they manufactured parts for the Norden Bomb Site.
Following World War II she moved with her husband and family to Mount Gilead. Juanita took pride in her loving family. They always came first and she cherished each and every moment she shared with them. She also enjoyed 15 years working with her husband at the R & H Decorating Center which they owned for 35 years. She loved helping people at the store and sharing her knack for decorating with their customers. Juanita and Ralph spent their leisure time listening to and attending Big Band music and symphony concerts and watching the birds from their deck of their house that her father built in 1951.
Juanita was a perfectionist in all of her endeavors. She sewed very intricate items including Christmas ornaments, her own clothing, banners for church, and baton competition outfits for her daughter Sharon. She was very particular about her yard, always having beautiful flower gardens.
Juanita was a devoted member of Trinity United Methodist Church for over 60 years. She touched hearts of those listening as she played quiet music on the piano before worship service on Sunday mornings. She especially enjoyed playing organ and piano duets with Miriam Nixon, Mary Jean Hickson, Francis Smith, Lenore Rhodebeck and Susan Douglas. She was a member of Trinity United Methodist Women, Senior Progress Club, Mothers Forum and Morrow County Hospital Auxiliary. She volunteered at Woodside Village Care Center where she played piano for worship services for over 25 years. She was also a private piano lessons teacher for over 30 years, with her first student being her sister, Ethel Marie.
A common theme throughout Juanita's life was her love of music. Director Randy Mann of the Mt. Gilead Show Choir said it best, "So many people never get it. It's more than notes and rhythms, more than dynamic and phrasing. Music is a momentary expression of something from the heart. If you're lucky and do everything right, it reaches in and touches your soul." Juanita responded, "These are my thoughts about music. Music did so much for me. It seemed like it reached in and touched my soul."
Juanita will be dearly missed by her son, Philip (Chellee) Courtney of Nederland, CO; five grandchildren: Carrie (Jesse) Trujillo, Colin (Kathryn) Courtney, Lynne (Rudy) Gauthier, Joanne (Rob) Normandin III, Dr. Tommy Meredith; six grandchildren: Eleana, Avyn, Rudy Jr., Corrie Danielle, Bo, and Courtney; a sister, Ethel Marie Shroats of Prospect; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband and parents, Juanita was preceded in death by her only daughter, Sharon Kay Meredith, to cancer on March 29, 2006; and her brother, Kenny F. Owings on December 16, 2009.
The Courtney family will greet friends from 4 - 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, at the Snyder Funeral Home, Craven Chapel, 67 N. Main St., Mount Gilead. Services celebrating her life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 75 E. High St., Mount Gilead with Pastor Lori Burdette-Steele officiating. Burial will follow in Rivercliff Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Acclaim Hospice or to the Trinity United Methodist Church, and may be made in care of the funeral home.
Snyder Funeral Homes of Mount Gilead is honored to have been chosen to serve Juanita‚s family and your private condolences may be expressed to them by visiting www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.
Published in The Morrow County Sentinel on Dec. 12, 2012