My grandparents were a huge part of my life growing up in rural Fresno County. We lived in the country about 4 miles west of Reedley California. My grandfather Gordon Courtney was a farmer and my grandmother Leona was a hardworking farmer’s wife who in mid life became a winery worker. They were both smart, hardworking, friendly generous and loving people. They have been fondly remembered to me by many other people over the years. I’ve heard countless stories about their hospitality and generosity.
In 1972 they sold their 20 acre farm and bought a home on 2/3 of an acre on busy Mountain View Avenue two miles from Kingsburg where Gordon grew the biggest tomatoes and Russian black berries I’ve ever seen. After retiring from the winery Leona opened a business making stuffed toys.
They often told stories about the visitors who stopped to buy tomatoes and left with arm loads of toys and fruit and veggies. Out of state truck drivers seemed to be a favorite. For the next 20 years they made new friends and enjoyed their old friends on a daily basis. Some of their oldest best friends that I remember were Fannie and Hershel Medcalf, Don and Esther Burgess, Norma and Frank Biagi and Burl and Louise Rash. I visited my grandparents several times a week and almost always was introduced to new folks.
This attempt at making a family history is a huge undertaking on my part, I have piles of papers, photos, negatives etc that I have rescued from the bottom of drawers, suitcases, and from the trash when moving my grandma from place to place. Many things have been forever lost, but I did what I could to preserve what I have been able to compile. It is as accurate as I can make it, if something is not a fact, it will be stated as speculation. I spent a lot of time asking questions and writing down stories and family histories as told to me by Gordon and Leona. I hope that you enjoy my effort.
Do all things with love