Kay Jacquelyn Courtney
Kay Jacquelyn (Shipp) Courtney passed away peacefully on May 4, 2021 after an extended struggle with cancer and the residual effects of a stroke.
Kay is preceded in death by her daughter, Claire Ann (Courtney) Fisher and survived by her son James ‘Jim’ Clifford Courtney, her grandchildren Megan Courtney & Cody Dumph, Emilee (Courtney) & Ty Dinh, Makenzie Courtney, Daniel Fisher, and Anna Fisher, as well as one great grandson, Killian James Dinh. Kay is also survived by her siblings James Shipp of Tennessee, Linda (Shipp) Smith of Indianapolis, IN., and Susan ‘Susi’ (Shipp) & Rick Fryer, of Indianapolis, IN.
Kay was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN on July 28, 1934, the daughter of James Franklin Shipp and Eulah (Barrow) Shipp. Kay graduated from Broadripple High School in 1952 and went on to study journalism at Indiana University. Kay took pride in her ability to spell any word in the dictionary without assistance. She later married and had two children, Jim and Claire. In 1968, Kay relocated to Michigan where she worked as an editor before moving to Grand Rapids around 1978 to become a residential real estate broker, later establishing Kay Courtney & Associates. She found her passion in real estate and particularly loved and appreciated historic homes. She also cherished her role of advocate and teacher for her clients, particularly ‘first timers’. Kay was known for her ethics, assertiveness, knowledge, and as an inspiring mentor to many realtors until her retirement in 2016 at age 82!
She was a member of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors for over 35 years, serving on various committees and boards, and spearheaded the GRAR Book Drive that collects gently used K-8th grade books for children. GRAR recently renamed it the “Kay Courtney Book Drive”. It is well known that Kay deeply loved her adopted hometown of Grand Rapids as she was a long-time resident of Heritage Hill, a steadfast patron of the arts, and a generous contributor to many community development efforts.
At Kay’s request there will be no funeral service. Kay was a regular contributor to two charities: Gilda’s House and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. In lieu of flowers, Kay requested that those wishing to honor her memory donate to either of these charities.
The family wishes to thank everyone for the heartfelt messages of condolence and appreciation of Kay’s life.