Fun, kind, introverted, fearless, genuine
Growing up, Courtney was a quiet and sensitive girl who wanted nothing more than to make those around her happy. Though she was shy, she was kindhearted and had a great sense of humor that those close to her got to experience. Courtney grew up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, as the youngest in the family with four older brothers and a sister. She was a people pleaser who showed her love by helping people in any way she could and especially enjoyed cooking for them. “In her younger years when she cooked for us, she would laughingly refer to herself as ‘Courtney the Cook’,” recalls her sister.
Courtney and her sister Shannon were close despite their nine-year age difference, and like many sisters they gave each other makeovers, laughed together on road trips, and depended on each other for advice. Shannon has many fond memories with her sister from laughing about staining the bathtub when they dyed each other’s hair to buying gag gifts to prank their dad with. As they grew older, that bond remained strong and they supported each other when they began raising families of their own. Courtney cared for her two children who she loved more than anything, her son Toby and her daughter Sloan. Crafting and cooking were some of their favorite things to do together.
Though she struggled with addiction throughout her entire adult life, Courtney was a smart young woman who was hardworking and strong willed. After graduating high school, Courtney studied at Mount Aloysius College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in science. She then got a job at the medical center in State College, PA as an X-ray Technician which she enjoyed. At the time of her passing, she was living with her parents who were helping to raise her children as she worked towards her goal of sobriety. She had dreams to one day own her own home and get married.
Courtney’s addiction was hard for her family to cope with, “watching Courtney sabotage herself was the hardest part for me,” says her sister, “it took away her personality and made her unable to be her true self. It made her numb, closed off, and a lot angrier.” In a way, Courtney’s death broke her family apart, but it also brought them closer together as they shared the loss of their loved one. “It has made us all kinder to each other, and personally it has given me a lot of perspective and encouraged me to be more open with my own kids with the hope that it can break the cycle. I realize now that it can happen to anybody and that has helped me to become more empathetic and understanding with others,” says Shannon.
Courtney’s sister, Shannon Morris, provided the information for this narrative.
January 17, 1977–May 26, 2012
Age 35, lived with the disease of addiction for 15 years.