Cover photo for Nelson Warn Courtney's Obituary
1936 Nelson 2021

Nelson Warn Courtney

June 19, 1936 — May 22, 2021


In his book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande wrote that physicians are drawn to medicine for "the fragile opportunity for one's know-how, ability, or just gut instinct to change the course of another's life for the better."

Physician, spouse, father, and grandfather Nelson Warn Courtney proved himself mortal on May 22, 2021. Before he passed, Warn used the fragile opportunity of life itself to change the course of others' lives for the better.

Drawn to medicine at a young age, Warn majored in biology at Kalamazoo College. With the help of his hero, Dr. Frances Diebold, he attended the University of Michigan Medical School and became a radiologist. After serving in the United States Air Force, Warn returned to his hometown and began work at Kalamazoo Radiology. Early in his career, he was instrumental in bringing ultrasound technology to the city. Later he served as both President of Kalamazoo Radiology and Chief of Staff at Bronson Hospital, thus using his know-how and ability to change the lives of many for the better.

If work was Warn's pride, family was his joy. First, last, and always, he loved his wife Jean, who preceded him in death by just a few months. He inspired his children Catherine (Ron), Susan (Hamid), and Karen. He bragged about his grandchildren Serena, Olivia, and Siraj, and he strove to make their lives better by fixing broken furniture, reading bedtime stories, and toasting perfect marshmallows.

Warn was an avid traveler who set foot on every continent. He used both ability and gut instincts to play tennis, baseball, softball, and chess. He read, watched birds, and celebrated every sunset over Lake Michigan.

Warn was curious and kind and humble and helpful. Because he lived, our lives are better.

Donations in Dr. Courtney's honor may be made to: Kalamazoo College Diebold Fellowship Fund

A celebration of the lives of Warn and Jean Courtney will be held at 1410 Holiday Lane, Portage, MI, on Sunday, August 1, 2021 at 1:00-3:00 pm ET Stories and music will begin at 1:30 ET. The gathering will be outside, weather permitting. Please bring a mask in case the event is moved indoors. There will also be an option to join the gathering live online. If you would like to join online, please email and the link will be sent when it is available.

To view Warn's personalized webpage please visit
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nelson Warn Courtney, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Sunday, August 1, 2021

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

1410 Holiday Lane, Portage, MI

1410 Holiday Lane, Portage, MI 49024

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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