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Robert E. Courtney
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A funeral service was held Thursday at the Colonial Chapel of Franklin & Downs for Robert Ernest Courtney, 76, of Copperopolis. The former Ceres High School math teacher died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2005.

Born June 23, 1928, Mr. Courtney was a native of Modesto and lived most of his life there until a move to Copperopolis 15 months ago. Mr. Courtney attended the one-room Bel-Passi School located at the current site of the Sylvan Union School District offices. After graduating from Modesto High School, he served in the Army in Japan after World War II. He then attended San Jose State College.

During his final term, he worked briefly as a police officer in Santa Cruz. Mr. Courtney was considering full-time work when his father asked him to return to Modesto and help with a recently formed family business, Stanislaus Pump & Supply . He stayed with the company for 14 years.

Following an injury, Mr. Courtney decided to become a teacher after hearing a recruitment speech on the radio by Fred C, Beyer, who was superintendent of Modesto schools. He taught math at Ceres High School for two years before transferring to Downey High. When Fred C. Beyer High School opened, Mr. Courtney taught business, typing and career classes. He retired in 1991 after 22 years teaching.

Mr. Courtney was a member of the Sierra Club and the Sylvan Club. He volunteered as a driver for Catholic Charities and worked with the Modesto Independent Continued Learning at Modesto Junior College.

He traveled extensively and enjoyed studying history. He served as historian for the Sylvan Improvement Improvement Club.

He leaves behind three sons, Barry E. Courtney of Modesto, Dr. Mark E. Courtney of Chicago, and Craig E. Courtney of Hong Kong; his brother, Charles Samuel Courtney of Washington; his sister, Maryann Williford of Martinez; and six grandchildren.

Remembrances may be sent to the Sylvan Club, P.O. Box 576741, Modesto CA 95357.