The Rev. Courtney Albert Shucker II was born in Erie, Penn., on April 7, 1946, the only child of Courtney Albert Shucker I, an aerospace design engineer, and Geraldine May Krebs Shucker. Courtney died in the Lutheran hospice in Wheat Ridge on August 1, 2018, after suffering a major stroke. He was visited often in the hospital by clergy, family and friends, and was surrounded by his beloved classical music.
The family was of Swedish stock and young Courtney grew up going to the conservative Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, where his mother was the organist.
After graduating in music from the University of Redlands in 1968, he spent the next 30 years as part-time and full-time organist-choirmaster in the Dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego. In 1980 he became the organist and choir director at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif. After 14 years there, he left to attend the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., thinking that after ordination as a priest he might become a cathedral dean, or at least liturgist, somewhere. As he wrote, “Ironically (or by holy influence), (my) first clergy position was for a combined Episcopal and United Methodist congregation in a rural Nevada town of 1,800, followed by a combined Episcopal and ELCA Lutheran parish in rural Utah… God has a sense of humor, she really does.”
Courtney loved travel, going as far as New Zealand, where he lived for some time, and Antarctica, where he worked for a Kiwi catering company. He also visited England, Scotland, Iceland, Ireland and Belize.
He retired from service as a full-time parish priest and moved to Salida in 2006 with his rescue dog, a golden retriever, which was going to be his last dog. He went on to rescue seven or eight more dogs, mostly goldens.
Courtney frequently filled in at the organ or at the altar for various churches in Salida. He acted in community theater plays. He directed two very successful Community Messiah Sing-alongs, with soloists, musicians and a host choir to help all those who had ever sung and loved Messiah to sing it again. He had agreed to direct the Collegiate Peaks Chorale and was organizing ideas for the winter season concert at the time of his death.
He is survived by a first cousin, David Hensel, of Yorba Linda, Calif. His last three dogs have been cared for by friends and are being adopted out.
About his retirement in Salida he wrote, “I enjoy my life and my own company here in the beautiful Rockies. What is there to do other than church? I tell people my primary occupation now is to ponder and just enjoy participating in life. Hallelujah!”
Courtney’s funeral mass will be Wednesday, August 15 at 2 PM. He will be interred at the Columbarium at Ascension Episcopal Church. All are welcome.