|Courtnay A. Roberts, 85, of Gainesville, passed away March 20, 2012 at Shands at the University of Florida.
Courtnay was born in St. Petersburg, FL and grew up on his family’s ranch in Brooksville. Growing up on a 3000-acre ranch gave Courtnay a passion for Florida’s natural environment and allowed him to become an avid outdoorsman and shooting enthusiast. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps at age 17. Courtnay earned the Purple Heart for wounds received in action during combat in WW II and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant. After returning from the war, Courtnay attended the University of Florida and graduated in 1950. Shortly after graduation, Courtnay joined the Gainesville Police Department where he would become a mainstay and household name in the community that he loved with all his heart. Being a police officer from 1950-1980, Courtnay was on the front lines of a changing and often tumultuous community. From the post war bliss through unrest during the Civil Rights Movement, Integration of public schools, large scale demonstrations and riots associated with the Vietnam War, all the way to panty-raids and streaking across the college campus; Courtnay was central to a law enforcement agency tasked with dealing with the constantly changing needs of Gainesville. He climbed the ranks from Officer to Captain and was ultimately appointed to be the Chief of Police where he served until retiring in 1980. He attended th FBI National Academy where he also served as President of the Florida Chapter. Courtnay had a passion for helping others and routinely would coordinate firearms safety and self-defense courses for members of the community. He brought national recognition to the Gainesville Police Department for his highly celebrated self-defense course for women during the 1960s and 70s. During one of these courses, Courtnay met the love of his life Barbara whom he married.
In 1999, Courtnay fufilled another passion at Victory Church of Gainesville where he served as Associate Pastor doing Outreach Ministries in the community. This passion was equally as important as his law enforcement and military careers. During this time Courtnay and Barbara loved sharing their experiences and guiding couples through Pre Marital Counseling. He was also well known for his stories that he shared with everyone who knew him. They provided inspiration and joy to many.
Courtnay is survived by his wife of 41 years, Barbara Roberts, children Larry (Jan) Roberts, Joy Johnson, Ian (Lindsey) Roberts and Courtnay Roberts Jr, grandchildren Cammy, Bonnie Sue, Josh, Ian and Ryan and 2 great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Monday March 26, 2012, 5-8 pm at Forest Meadows Funeral Home, 725 NW 23rd Ave, Gainesville, FL. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 3 pm at Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 NW 53rd Ave. Burial will follow at Forest Meadows Memorial Park Central, 4100 NW 39th Avenue. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Victory Church, Building Fund, 201 US HWY 441, Micanopy, FL 32667.
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