By SARAH DOOLITTLE, Four Points News
Vandgrift Assistant Principal Tiffany Phelps and her children, Bryson, 5, and Brooklyn, 23 months, are grieving the death of their husband and father, Courtney, after his unexpected death last week at the age of 37.
Courtney, who was visiting family in San Antonio on Aug. 23, complained he wasn’t feeling well and decided to take a nap. He died in his sleep.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Courtney’s heart was almost twice the size of an average man, which ultimately led to its failure, his obituary stated from Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home.
“It’s quite ironic that the very heart that touched so many people would ultimately take his life,” his obituary went on to state. “Anyone who knew Courtney would describe him as being incredibly kind, generous and loving. Courtney was a great man, large in stature and with an enormous heart, both literally and figuratively.”
In response to Courtney’s death, VHS Principal Charlie Little and members of the Four Points community have organized a fundraiser for the Phelps family of Austin. As Little explained in his email to VHS families, funds raised are intended, “to help offset funeral expenses and provide additional support for Tiffany and her children… during this difficult time.”
Originally intended to raise $40,000, the fund quickly met and exceeded that goal. The new goal of $60,000 was surpassed Monday morning as word of Phelps death continues to spread throughout the greater Austin area.
Little has worked with Tiffany Phelps for over 10 years, during which time, “She has been a friend and trusted colleague,” and he is not surprised at the community’s response in her time of need.
“I think the tremendous outpouring of support for her demonstrates the vastness of the relationships she has cultivated in all her roles,” said Little. “As both a teacher, coach and administrator, she has touched many lives in a profound way.”
Tiffany has lost a loving husband in Courtney; the two recently celebrated their ninth anniversary with a trip to Italy. He also enjoyed bringing her flowers and letting her know how much he loved her.
Courtney, an enthusiastic Longhorn football fan, also took enormous pleasure and pride in parenting, coaching his son’s little league team and, as described in his obituary, “(having) impromptu dance parties with his little girl.”
Courtney was a 1997 graduate of Central Catholic High School in San Antonio where he was an honor roll student and athlete who played basketball and baseball. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Texas.
The respected Austin realtor worked with Reilly Realtors since 2009. He was, according to owner Michael Reilly, “a cornerstone of our company. Courtney was a team player, a top producer, and most importantly, a kind and generous person. The outpouring of support over the last few days demonstrates just how much Courtney was loved by everyone he worked with in the Austin real estate community. Courtney will be greatly missed.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to the fundraising effort can do so by visiting www.youcaring.com/Phelpsfamily. Additionally, a memorial service will be held for Courtney on Sep. 3 at 2 p.m. in Lakeway at Weed-Corley-Fish Lake Travis.
While funds raised will help to relieve the financial burden of Courtney Phelps’ death, Little knows that Tiffany Phelps’ and her children’s greatest burden is an emotional one. Echoing sentiments expressed throughout the Four Points community, Little said, “Her friends and family just ache to see her experiencing this personal tragedy.”