of Greenbrier, AR
July 15, 1934 - January 7, 2021
Jim Courtney entered heaven Thursday evening, greeted by a chorus of those whom he loved, taught, trained and mentored through 86 years as a husband, father, professor, Sunday School teacher, music director and friend. And hundreds left behind attribute his life's work as having a profound impact on their professional careers and personal character.James D. (Jim) Courtney, born July 15, 1934 in Wynnewood, OK, died Thursday evening, January 7, 2021. Jim was beside his wife, Ellen, peacefully at home in Greenbrier, AR.Jim is survived by wife, Ellen Raines (Hornaday) Courtney, (May, 1999); a daughter, Jamie Courtney; a son, Jonathan Brent Courtney; daughters Cynthia (Hornaday) McDermott; Carol (Hornaday) Tennis; Laura (Hornaday) Gray; three sons-in-law, Stephen McDermott, Thad Tennis & Michael Gray; Grandchildren, Ashley (Tennis) & Ryan Barnett; Jessica Tennis; Josh Vanderwall; Derrick & Melissa Vanderwall; Marie Gray; Alex Gray; Nephews & Nieces, James Dean & Sherri Courtney, Stacy (Courtney) & David Jordan, and many more beloved.Jim is preceded in death by Loreta Ann (Hodges) Courtney, his college sweetheart, married 42 years; Parents: James Alvis Courtney & Maggie Delena (Thomas) Courtney, married 62 years; A brother, Jack & Nancy (Dean) Courtney, and many more beloved.As a teenager, Jim found his voice-a tenor soloist adept at leading worship. To prepare for his ministry, he trained formally at Jacksonville Baptist College (Texas), where he met Loreta Hodges, married in 1955. And completed his formal education at University of Central Arkansas (Masters of Music Education). Jim began serving on church staffs as congregational and choral director in Houston, Carthage & Lubbock, Texas. In 1962, he assumed Minister of Music & Education at First Baptist Church, Magnolia, AR, where he directed choirs for all ages and created youth programs, "The Galileans" and "The Lines & Spaces"-replicated throughout the Baptist Missionary Association (BMA). In 1968, Central Baptist College in Conway, AR, recognized Jim's innovative approaches and offered him the Chairman of the Music Department. It is there his influence on students' lives expanded, teaching music and training future leaders. Each year Jim formed the Central Singers from the talent among the student body. The 10-member group-often accompanied by a full choir-visited churches to support fund-raising and recruiting most weekends and school breaks. Each performance reflected Jim's meticulous preparation, coordination and pursuit of excellence in sound and presentation. As "dorm dad" for a time, Jim insisted on cleanliness, safety and (after 10 p.m.), tranquility. Jim was honored in 2019 at a 50-year Central Singers reunion that drew 150 former Singers, who expressed their appreciation for his service, friendship, and wise council.Jim also served terms as Dean of Students, Director of Life Skills Center, President's Administrative Council, and on Faculty Committees including Activities, Curriculum and Disciplinary. In 1997, Jim retired from teaching to care for Loreta, who passed later that year. After time, Jim courted and married Ellen (Hornaday) and instantly acquired additional 3 adult children, their spouses and 6 grandchildren, with whom he enjoyed camping, fishing, grilling, and traveling. Until recently, Jim taught a Sunday School class at Springhill Baptist Church, Greenbrier, AR, remembered as always prepared and insightful.Age produced in Jim a tender heart and tolerance, a desire to travel with family and friends. He maintained his curiosity, humor and appreciation for beautiful sounds and sights.Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, January 13 at 2:00 p.m. Visitation at 1:00 p.m. - Springhill Baptist Church, AR. For those who would like to attend, Safety Protocols will be followed: social distancing and masks.Live Streaming at springhillbaptistchurch.info.Interment following at Crestlawn Memorial Park, Conway, AR.In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the James D. and Loreta Ann Courtney Scholarship Fund at Central Baptist College.
I am so sorry to learn of his passing. What a wonderful man he was. He gave me the opportunity to attend college at a time when it was impossible to do so and I will be forever grateful. I remember singing “What a Friend We have in Jesus” for him. He certainly was that. I hope to be in his choir again someday.
To Jamie and Brent,Your father was a good man and great music director at CBC. He was loved by so many and made a big impact on all our lives. You know he is singing some beautiful wonderful praises with our Heavenly Father right now. Praying for God to give you comfort.
Jamie, I am so sorry to learn of your father's passing. He was such a kind and gentle soul. I have so many fond memories of time spent with both your parents. Praying for you and your family.
Bro. Courtney was such a prince of a man and rightly so as a child of the King. He was very dear to us and impacted both our lives in very memorable ways. My younger sister, Lisa, who left us to soon in 1989, also thought highly of Bro. Courtney as she was a member of the CBC choir from 1986-88 and also worked with Sis. Ellen in the college library. Our prayers are with the family as you celebrate a life well lived.
There are times in our lives that as we reflect on the opportunities we are offered that make a huge impact on our lives and our future. Jim Courtney was a man that gave a young man that needed it a chance to feel welcome and a part of a community. He remained a friend and a man I admired for 50 years. He and Momma Courtney took good care of us. The thunderous noise of footsteps on the stairs when he announced fresh cookies were available in the lobby still reverberate in my ears.
Although we just re-acquainted a few years ago, Bro. Courtney has been my friend and mentor for over 50 years. As one of the first Central Singers ("Sangers", as he would say), we experienced much and created many memories. I love Jim Courtney, Ellen, Jamie, Brent and the whole family. My life has been blessed and enriched because of them. May God give you comfort and peace in the days ahead. Phill and Wenjuan Wilson.
Sending our thoughts and prayers for peace. What a life and legacy Uncle Jim lived.
There are no words that adequately express how grateful Mike and I are to have known and loved Jim Courtney.
What a blessing he was to my life! The musical training and opportunities he gave me will always be remembered and cherished. He was blessed with two awesome wives who in turn were a blessing to so many. Prayers for you all...Ellen, Jamie, Brent. So looking forward to the great heavenly choir. My mind can’t fathom how glorious that will be! (I desperately wanted to watch the service but had a bad connection!) May God make His presence very real to you all.
Jamie, I am so sorry for your loss. I so many great memories of your parents. You and your family are in my prayers.
Ellen my thoughts and Prayers are with you and your family. Jim will be missed by so many people. I will miss getting to pester him on Sundays.I look forward to seeing you again soon.Joann Kirby
So sorry for your loss. Jim was such an outstanding Christian.
Jamie and Brent, I was sorry to hear about your Dad. I loved all your family as my own and still have a special place in my heart for you. When Loreta and I worked together and I came to know you and your Dad and Grand Dad I was so blessed. Prayers for all the family.
Jamie, I am so sorry for your loss. I am so blessed to have so many good memories of your family. I am praying for all of you.
I always enjoyed visiting with this great man. He was a friend always.
I have many fond memories of being in the CBC choir directed by Bro. Courtney. He could be stern, but only because he wanted the best from his students. I can remember James expressing appreciation for what Bro. Courtney taught him about leading a congregation in worshipping God through music. Bro. Courtney will be missed by many. The family is in my prayers.
Jamie,So sorry for your loss. I have many fond memories of your parents. Prayers for you during this time.
Mrs. Courtney, Jamie, and Brent, you are all in my prayers. He was such a fine man. He was loved and will be missed by so many. I remember him for that great sense of humor! Loved him very much. God bless and comfort you all.
Bro. Jim was our Choir Director, Sunday School Teacher, and Dear Friend. I (Gene) now teach the Pathfinder Class at Antioch Conway that Bro. Jim taught for twenty years. Our whole class loved him dearly and send our love with prayers to his sweet family. I look forward to singing "The Hallelujah Chorus" with Bro. Jim again someday "In that Sweet Forever." RIP faithful servant
Just want to prayer for the family during this time Brother Courtney was a Guy!!!
I wasn't very musically inclined. But, I had to take some of the music classes for my major. I really enjoyed taking Song Leading (I am not sure if that's the correct name of that class) under Bro. Courtney. And he was most helpful with guidance and providing material for the Religious Education course. Thank you, Bro. Courtney for your example and teaching. May your memory be a blessing to all who knew you and loved you.
Prayers for the family.
Bro. Courtney will not be forgotten. My condolences to Mrs. Ellen and all family and friends.
Many memories of Jim from my days as a student and employee at CBC. Much love and prayers for all of the family.
May God bless and comfort the family
I grew up in with Jack as my pastor and always heard great stories about his brother Jim. When I got to college, I got to know Jim. He was a great person and a great teacher. He will be missed.
Jim Courtney was truly a servant of God! He loved the churches he served and later college. We worked with him in the 1960's at First Baptist, Magnolia. Our deepest Sympathy to Jamie, Brent and Ellen. God Bless you all!
Like so many others, Bro. Courtney had great impact and influence our lives. So many memories some of which just make you laugh. The legacy he leaves behind may never fully be known on this side of eternity.
Love and prayers for the family.
Ellen and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Jim was such a good person, always having a good word for everyone. You and the family are in our prayers.
My condolences to the family. Bro. Courtney was always a leading figure in my life. I always enjoyed when he and dad got together. They were always best of friends. But, what a service they're both in now!
Sincere condolences to the family. Bro. Courtney was a mentor, friend and teacher. He will be remembered for his loving and gracious demeanor. So sorry for his loss.
Great man! Will always remember the office chats with Phillip, Jim and Brother Courtney! It was our way if getting out of theory class!!
Great friend and servant of our Lord.
Bro. Courtney, welcome to your new home. Your place is waiting for you.
My sympathy for you and your family.
Bro Jim had an impact on untold thousands of students through the decades and all of us were better for his commitment to the Lord and serving others for Jesus.
May The Lord Bless & Comfort the Family.
Praying for Brother Jim’s family! He was a wonderful servant of the Lord & influenced many lives. We will miss him at Springhill.
My condolence to the family on the passing of a great man.
Praying for Ellen and all the family members.