Harold James (Jim) Courtney died June 24 at Harney District Hospital.

He was born on Oct. 11, 1926, in La Grande. Jim married Doris Miller April 11, 1948, in LaGrande.

His early years were spent on his father’s and grandfather’s farm on Foothill Road in La Grande. He was the only child of Lester and Lucille. This farm was lost due to the Great Depression, and the family moved into the town of La Grande, where his grandfather and father ran the livery stable. Jim became involved with scouting and sports where he found his talent in football and earned his varsity letter as a freshman. He enlisted in the Army prior to high school graduation, graduated in December of his senior year, and was soon sent to Japan on a steamship. The country boy from Eastern Oregon spent the entire voyage being sea sick. Once in Japan, he was assigned to the 55th Combat Engineers. The engineers were assigned to get the streets cleared and the railroads running again. While riding on one of the overcrowded railroad cars, there was an accident, and Jim was severely injured, covered with a sheet and thought dead. To the doctors’ surprise, he survived the injury.

Upon return from active duty, Jim took a job with the city of La Grande as a city recorder and street sweeper (literally sweeping the streets with a push broom). Jim also went to college at Eastern Oregon College on the G.I. Bill and earned his degree in education. Jim also played on the college football team and played drum in the newly-formed American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps.

Jim’s first job was a teacher and coach in Joseph, and he later moved to Enterprise as an administrator. In 1976, he became the Harney County ESD superintendent from which he retired in 1988.

Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, family and especially golf. He was a gifted athlete, and in his younger years, he excelled in football, basketball, track, baseball, softball, and even bowling.

He is survived by three sons; Daniel James and wife, Janyce, of Drewsey, David L. and wife, Nancy, of Grants Pass, Steven John and wife, Diane, of Anacortes, Wash.; brother-in-law, Ed Miller and wife, Jean Ann, of Beaverton; grandchildren Kamy Hart of Fairbanks, Alaska, Jamie and Mitch Siegner of Riverside, Chad and Katie Courtney of Pendleton, Kristen and Danny Arrigotti of Grants Pass,  Travis and Angie Courtney of Lowell, Ryan Courtney and Charity of John Day, Linsey and Mackenzie Courtney of Anacortes, Wash.; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Doris, in 2006, and parents Lester and Lucille Courtney.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the Valley Golf Club in Hines. Contributions in Jim Courtney’s memory may be made to the Harney County Dollars for Scholars, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, PO Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.   Please sign the online guest book at  www.lafolletteschapel.com.

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  • Watching football (35%)
  • Taking a walk/drive (20%)
  • Napping (18%)
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  • Playing family games (4%)

85 total vote(s)

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