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Gretchen Courtney

gretchen  courtney
Gretchen M. Courtney, age 92, of New Hampton (formerly of Nashua) was called home to be with God unexpectedly from a cardiac event on Sunday, December 19, 2021, at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City, IA. Funeral Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, December 23, 2021, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Nashua, Iowa, with private family interment at Oak Hill Cemetery in Nashua to follow. There will be a lunch served at the church following the funeral. Masks are requested following Covid protocol. Friends may greet the family at the visitation Wednesday, December 22 at Hugeback -Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., and 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. before the Funeral on Thursday. Gretchen Marie Courtney was born on January 15, 1929, at just 4 pounds and 10 ounces at Hershey Hospital in Muscatine, Iowa to Fred and Edith (Witte) Guenther. Gretchen was a 1947 graduate of Muscatine High School and worked for the Telephone Company following graduation. On August 14, 1949, Gretchen married Charles J. Courtney. The couple started their family in Muscatine in 1955 with 5 children. Chuck's employment took the family to Ellsworth, Iowa in 1965 and then to Postville Iowa until 1977. Moving to Nashua in 1977, they bought an IGA grocery store and owned it until 1987. Gretchen having been a mother and homemaker, added grocery clerk to her title at that time. When the store closed, she began working at the Nashua Pharmacy. Gretchen also worked for Kwik Star when her son David was the manager helping make the donuts. In 2013, Gretchen moved to New Hampton to live next door to her daughter Deb. Gretchen became Debs receptionist and right-hand helper at her hair salon where she grew to know many people in New Hampton. She became part of the community playing cards with the St. Joes 500 group and Bingo at the Knights of Columbus on Thursday evenings. This move also enabled Gretchen to still be a part of her R.E.S.T Club and Nashua Women’s Club. She enjoyed the friendships of these people very much. Gretchen deemed her greatest accomplishment as her family, and they were a great source of pride to her. Gretchen loved going to all her children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren’s events and programs. She was always young in heart and young in mind even as she grew older. She loved going to Florida spring training baseball games and watching her St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. She enjoyed her trips tailgating and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes football games, and Iowa basketball games. Gretchen enjoyed her spring vacations in Florida with her daughters and their husbands, her spring flower shopping with her son and wife, her fireworks on the 4th of July in the convertible, her trips to Gays Mills Apple Orchard, and basically where ever the car would take her. She loved to shop, fish, golf, and play cards. Gretchen golfed league at the Nashua Golf Course. In her last game of golf at the age of 90, she shot a 56. Gretchen had a love for all animals; especially her dog Kacia and taking care of grand pups. Always wanting to learn more, Gretchen learned to use a computer, an Ipad, an Apple phone, an apple watch, and even a smart TV. It occupied her time especially when Covid came and her travels became more limited. She had Facebook, Face-timed, and played golf on the Ipad. Reading, knitting all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren's baby blankets, crocheting, sewing, and doing many puzzles was also a great use of her time. Gretchen loved watching Mollie B’s Polka Party, and the Price is Right. Gretchen is survived by her 5 children: Sue Ellen (Dr. Gordon) Johnson of Bettendorf, IA, Charles Douglas (Nina) Courtney of Richmond, MO, Lori (Bruce) Meyer of North Liberty IA, Debra (Marty) Larsen of New Hampton, IA, and David (Holly) Courtney of Waterloo IA, 13 grandchildren, and soon to be 22 great-grandchildren. Gretchen is preceded in death by her parents: Fred and Edith (Witte) Guenther; her husband Charles J. Courtney; brother–in–law Cecil Courtney, brother- in law- Harold Courtney, a sister- in -law Fern Courtney and niece Marylou Courtney. With never an unkind word said, Gretchen, will be missed by many.

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Memories Timeline


  1. We have many memories of Gretchen in the IGA Store years ago. Such a friendly kind lady, sympathy to the family.

  2. Sue, Gordon & Family, Our heartfelt sympathy to all of you during this incredibly difficult time. Cherish the wonderful memories you shared. Hugs!

  3. My deepest sympathy to you Deb and all your family, I just heard it on the radio this morning and wanted to say I am thinking of you all. She was such a wonderful person and now in heaven with Jesus and all the angels watching over all her family. I always enjoyed visiting with her at the shop or her home. Sincerely Linda Stolfus

  4. You will always be close to our hearts Grandma Gretchen! Love you always, Kristen, Bryan, Jackson, Aria and Maddox

  5. Our deepest sympathy to the Courtney Family! I remember Gretchen and Chuck back in the day when I sold them Little Debbies at the store! Such nice people!

  6. Lori & Family: Our deepest sympathy in the loss of your mother. Cherish the memories and legacy of your mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. In loving memory of Gretchen. Her soul touched everyone she met. Hold your memories of her in your heart. My deepest sympathy,

  8. Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss… Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  9. Sent with love and remembrance, from Janice Pennington, Karen Vandiver, Robin & Pat Cado and Roger and Marsha Pennington

  10. Celebrating the life and love of Gretchen Courtney. Love to family, Mike & Sherri Colibert, Zach & Tamera Cornett family, Bob & Edna Grant.

  11. Sending love and prayers to Deb and Marty and their family and also to Gertrude’s other children and their families. I will miss you dear friend. Rest in peace. Betty

  12. Gretchen was such a nice and fun lady! Working for Chuck and her at the IGA Store, many memories, we had many good talks together and enjoyed the kids too! One thing that comes to mind was about every late afternoon Chuck would walk up to the checkout and they would have a “visit” about what to have for supper?? I think many times Chuck had a plan already, she would go on her way picking up what she needed and would head home to get supper ready! Such a great family and I am so sorry but know she is happy with being with Chuck. She will be forever watching all of you and smiling and loving her family. our deepest sympathy to all of her family. Love, Sandy(Hicok)and Jim Miller

  13. My condolences to Deb Larsen and family. Gretchen has always been so pleasant and friendly. My sympathy on the loss of such a special lady. Carol Bohaty

  14. When I was about 10 year’s old or younger, I became friends with Gretchen’s daughter, Lori. In our small town of Ellsworth, they lived nearly the opposite end of town from me. About 6 blocks. I remember going to their house very often and it was always fun! Gretchen was always very sweet and so good to all of us kids. Memories include birthday parties, listening to Beatles records, playing hide and seek outdoors, and making Incredible Edibles (a toy from the mid 1960’s) in the basement. Those are just a few of the fun memories. I was sad when they moved away to Postville. Many years later (1991) I, my husband, and our 3 kids moved to Nashua. I was pleasantly surprised to find out Gretchen lived right across the street! It was comforting knowing she was there, and a blessing to have known her. Condolences to the family.
    Debbie Caudle

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