Terry T. Courneya

November 17, 1932 ~ July 15, 2020 (age 87)


Terrance “Terry” Thomas Courneya, age 87, of Frazee MN passed away July 15, 2020 at his cabin on Lake Seven near Frazee Minnesota, surrounded by his family.

Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 AM Saturday July 25, 2020 at Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Frazee, Minnesota. Interment will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour before the funeral Mass from 10:00 to 11:00 AM also at the cemetery. There will be a private prayer service for immediate family held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Terrance “Terry” Thomas Courneya was born November 17, 1932 in Detroit Lakes, MN to Louis and Marie Courneya. He grew up in rural Frazee near Lake Five and Rose Lake. He attended grade school at the country school near Rose Lake through grade 8. He graduated from Frazee High School in 1950. As a young adult, Terry spent three years in Golden Glove boxing amassing a record of 15 and 1. He later also boxed in the Navy.

Terry served four years in the Navy as an Aircraft Electrician during the Korean War including assignments in Florida, California, Hawaii and Japan.

While stationed in San Diego California, he met Claire Ann Donahue of Minot ND who was working there as a Registered Nurse. They were later married on October 19, 1957 in Minot.

Upon completing his mission in the Navy, he began college at NDSU in Fargo, ND in 1957. The following summer he and his bride moved to Gainesville Florida where he enrolled at University of Florida. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Animal Science in May of 1961, graduating Magna Cum Laude, at the top of his class. 

The couple moved to Carbondale Illinois in July of 1962, where Terry served as Swine Herdsman at the University of Southern Illinois for nearly three years. In March of 1965, they returned to Minnesota where Terry began what would become a life-long career as an Agricultural Extension Agent. His first assignment was as Associate Agent in Washington County in Stillwater Minnesota. A year later, they moved to Thief River Falls, MN where Terry served as the County Extension Agent for Pennington County.

In 1972, his parents were ready to return permanently to Minnesota from their retirement home in Florida. So Terry and Claire took the opportunity to move their young family to Florida to assist his parents in their move and also complete his Master’s degree at the University of Florida. Upon Graduation in spring of 1973, they returned to Thief River Falls where Terry resumed his duties as County Extension Director. In 1974, with the help of his brother Dean, Terry built his beloved cabin on Lake 7 near Frazee on a lot purchased from his brother Jerry and ground that Terry knew well from his youth.

In 1984, with a desire to ultimately retire in Florida, Terry accepted a position as Agricultural Extension Director with the University of Florida at the Lake County Agricultural Extension Center in Tavares, Florida. He finished his career there and later built their retirement home on a lot left to him by his parents in Ocala National forest near Ocklawaha. Throughout their retirement years they spent winters at their home in Florida and summers at their cabin on Lake 7. They spent their final winter in Florida in 2019-2020.

Terry was always a kind and gentle man who clung to his Catholic Faith instilled in him by his parents. He was a child of the depression and learned how to be thrifty and make-do with what they had. He was supremely clever and inventive in fixing anything that broke down, choosing to fix things rather than replace them. With ten children, he was a master at finding bargains on shoes and clothing, gambling that whatever he brought home from a crazy days sale was bound to fit someone.

He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his children and grandchildren and introduced all of his children to the wonders of nature and the outdoors. He was a loving and considerate husband and father who taught and led with confidence and patience. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends and all who knew him.

Terry is survived by his wife Claire and their ten children: Mary K (Carl) Sutton, Louis “Joe” (Cindy), James (Jayne), Douglas (Janice), Mary L (Michael) Graham, Kevin, Joni Knight, Debbi, Gary, and Bonni (Brian) Beutner, 26 Grandchildren and 14 Great Grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by parents Louis and Marie, his brothers Gerald, Clifford, Dean, and Cal, his sisters Joyce and Patricia and a grandson Jeffery Sutton.

In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to Sacred Heart Catholic Church Frazee, MN.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Terry T. Courneya, please visit our floral store.


July 25, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Frazee, Minnesota

Funeral Mass
July 25, 2020

11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Frazee, Minnesota

Video is available for this event

July 25, 2020

12:00 PM
Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Frazee, Minnesota

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