Remembering Ray Coursey

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Jason Thomasson

MURRAY, Ky. - A portion of the Calloway County Courthouse was closed Monday and a well known and well loved elected leader is gone.

Ray Coursey Jr. died at the age of 45 this weekend.  His family told Local 6 he was suffering from pneumonia.

Coursey was paralyzed in a diving accident when he was a teen, but he never let that stop him.  In 1983, Coursey became deputy clerk.  In 1995, he was elected as county clerk and served for 18 years.  He is the longest-serving Calloway County Clerk and co-workers say that's because of his work ethic and positive attitude.

"Everybody who had an opportunity to deal with Ray individually respected him and respected the way he conducted himself.  He's kind of like a member of our family, somebody you see every day, somebody you respect.  It's certainly not going to be the same," Judge Executive Larry Elkins said.

Things also won't be the same at the Glendale Road Church of Christ either.

"He was a genuine, thoughtful, compassionate Christian man who did a tremendous job of helping lots and lots of people," John Dale said.

He was Coursey's minister and preacher at the Glendale Road Church of Christ for decades.  He remembers seeing Coursey in the crowd.

"I would think of what he's doing, what he's going through and what it took for him to get here and it would be such an inspiration for me," Dale said.

Dale says across the county, people will never forget the clerk in the corner office who overcame so much.

Coursey didn't have kids, but does have a 13 and ten year old niece and nephew who were like a son and daughter to him.  Expressions of sympathy may go to their college fund.  That's set up at the Murray Bank on North 12Th street. It's the Ally and Bobby DeShields college fund.

Visitation is Monday from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Glendale Road Church of Christ in Murray.  The funeral is Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the church.  Burial will be at the Hicks Cemetery.

The Calloway County Judge Executive said Coursey's death means the clerk's office is closed until Thursday.  He says state law requires an office wide audit before a new clerk assumes duties.  Until then, people will have to go to neighboring counties for official business.

The judge said he's required to appoint a new clerk to serve until the next election.  Right now he's not sure who that person will be.

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