Mary Lou Courtney, 84, of Knoxville died Jan. 4, 2014, at the Knoxville Hospital from complications of a stroke. Mary was born Feb. 16, 1929, in Bussey and was one of 12 children of Clarence and Odessa Byers. She attended school in Knoxville where she lived her entire life. She married Raymond Pitt on Sept. 18, 1945. They lived for many years on a small family farm northwest of Knoxville.The family moved to Knoxville in 1976 and Mary proudly worked for the Veterans Administration hospital in food service until 1983. She was preceded in death by her first husband Raymond Pitt on June 6, 1983.
For many years she enjoyed socializing and playing bingo at several locations in Knoxville. She married William “Bill” Courtney on April 7, 1989, in Knoxville. They shared many happy years together and enjoyed dancing to the music of bands which included her nephew Keith Byers, a drummer; and her son David, a piano player. Bill preceded her in death on July 18, 2003.
In recent years Mary enjoyed companionship and hilarious antics of her Chihuahuas Sugar and Tiny. She always looked forward to spending time with her children and extended summer visits from her sister Dell from Texas. She, Dell, and their sister Yvonne loved to travel to the Rathbun Country Music Theater near Centerville for an evening of entertainment.
She was proud of all her children and their families and was loved by her many friends and acquaintances. She held a special place in her heart for her brother Jerry Byers, a country music singer, guitar player and pianist who preceded her in death in 1963. She had a lifelong love of music and could play the guitar, the piano, and sing beautiful harmony.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Odessa Byers; her siblings May, Dell, Bud, Johnny, Joyce, Ardith, Janice, Jerry, Betty Jean, and Yvonne; and by a granddaughter Chris Cooper.