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Brother Edward Vincent Courtney, C.S.C. Obituary


Br. Edward Vincent Courtney, C.S.C., age 90, passed away on March 16th in Dujarie House at Notre Dame, Indiana after a long illness. He was born in Portland, Oregon on May 2, 1918, one of seven children of James and Mabel Mary (Meier) Courtney. He was baptized at Holy Redeemer Church in Portland and attended elementary school in the same parish. He attended Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland, worked with the Southern Pacific Railroad for a year, and played semi-pro baseball and umpired in the Portland area. In 1941 he joined the U.S. Army and served in five campaigns in North Africa and Europe until his discharge in 1945.

Possibly because he knew of the Holy Cross priests and brothers at the University of Portland, in September of 1945 he joined the Brothers of Holy Cross preparatory program at Sacred Heart Juniorate in Watertown, Wisconsin. He began his religious training at St. Joseph Novitiate in Rolling Prairie, Indiana on August 15, 1946 and made his first vows as a Brother of Holy Cross on August 16, 1947. He pronounced his final vows at Sacred Heart Basilica at the University of Notre Dame on August 16, 1950.

His first assignment was to serve on the staff at Sacred Heart Juniorate in publications for a year and then for two years he did maintenance work at the Community House at Notre Dame until 1950. Then Br. Edward began his longest tour, spending 20 years working as a canvasser for the Ave Maria Press, visiting parishes in the Midwest to sell subscriptions to the weekly Ave Maria magazine. In 1970 he worked in maintenance for nine years at LeMans Academy in Rolling Prairie, Indiana. After a year of study in Kansas City, Br. Edward served on the staff of Columba Hall, until 2003, working as the mailman and commissioner for the community houses in the Notre Dame area. He then became a resident at Schubert Villa, within Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame and moved to Dujarie House in 2005 until his death.

Br. Edward was a deeply dedicated religious and generous in the service he provided in the various responsibilities he undertook in his assignments in the Community. Since he was a WWII Veteran and took part in European campaigns in Normandy, the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe, he believed the American flag symbolized the freedoms Americans enjoy. He is probably the most well-known of Holy Cross Brothers in the South Bend area because beginning on July 4, 1989 he set up vigil in front of a couple of American flags and sat in his lawn chair for several hours almost everyday along Indiana 933 (formerly US 31/33) near Holy Cross College. His intention was to pay tribute to the servicemen and women who died for their country and to see a 28th amendment to the Constitution protecting the flag from any desecration. He would wave and give a ¯thumbs up¯ sign to all who honked or waved at him. He didn¯t believe in putting up signs, because he said, ¯I don¯t want to tell people what to think or do. I just try to be a quiet presence and let things take their course.¯ He received numerous acknowledgements in newspapers, letters, and many patriotic awards (one from President George H.W. Bush). He was also a prolific writer having numerous articles published in the South Bend Tribune and the Observer of the University of Notre Dame. As one wrote of Brother Edward, ¯he weighed accounts of controversial issues and government stances to respectfully speak his mind. In this way, Brother Ed models what it means to be a responsible and concerned citizen. His life raises the standards for all of us to be patriotic and loyal citizens.¯
Br. Edward¯s tribute to the flag and his vigil succeeded for nearly 17 years, and ceased shortly after the City of South Bend honored his dedication to the American flag and service, naming him as the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick¯s Day Parade in 2006. He passed away on the eve of St. Patrick¯s Day, March 16th, 2009.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, March 21st at the main St. Joseph Chapel of Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame from 9:00 to 10:00 AM. The Mass of Resurrection will follow at 10:00 AM with burial afterward at the St. Joseph¯s Cemetery of the Village.

Memorial contributions, in honor of Br. Edward Courtney, C.S.C., to support the mission and ministries of the Brothers may be sent to: Brothers of Holy Cross, Office of Development, P.O. Box 460, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

Kaniewski Funeral Home will be handling the funeral arrangements.

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