Murphy Funeral Homes

4510 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA



June 3, 1939September 16, 2017

John Rodney Courtright John (78), a lifelong resident of his beloved Arlington County, passed away Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, surrounded by love. He was a graduate of Washington-Lee High school, Randolph Macon College, and American University graduate school. John retired from a career in civil service, the Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Army and as a Colonel from the Army Reserve. He had a big personality full of love for family and life. He was generous, gregarious, he loved people and their stories. John was passionate about local and military history. He was a member of the Arlington Rotary Club and of the Alpine and Nordic ski patrols. He is survived by his beloved wife, Suzanne, daughters Carolyn Smith and Christine Dolan, 4 grandchildren - James and Cathleen Smith, Suzanne and John Thomas Dolan, sons-in-law Michael Smith Tom Dolan, brother and sister-in-law Steve and Sandee Davis and nieces and nephews in Virginia, Texas, and Colorado. Graveside services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at 3:00 PM. Those attending will need to be at the Administration Building, no less than 45 minutes before service time. Donations in memory of John may be made to: Arlington Historical Society, 1805 S. Arlington Ridge Rd., Arlington, VA 22202.


  • Graveside Service with Full Military Honors

    Tuesday, February 20, 2018



have a memory or condolence to add?

Mary Kay (Garnett) Montgomery

February 16, 2018

John was a classmate and friend at W-L. We will all sorely miss his smile and positive fun ways. I am sorry to miss his burial at Arlington and offer my condolences to his family.

Harry Rensel

October 8, 2017

John, and I were close friends. We first met in 1993 in the Pentagon, where we both worked for the Army Chief Signal Officer. John, worked in a different office, but we became friends quickly. We would have lunches together and talk about office politics, The Poor Redskins, and the Army Staff. John, was a pleasant co-worker to be with, he made you feel good about the days events, even when they were unpleasant.
While John retired in 1999? He, and I stayed in touch. We both were involved in the Virginia Gun Collectors Association, and attended the monthly meetings. John, would say" They have the best warm soda, and cold pizza that I ever ate" :-) He was always making you laugh! while the years passed we were always, in touch and visited with our families. John, was a longtime friend and will be dearly missed by his family and close friends. Thank you Brother John, for being my good close friend over all the years, God Bless You. Harry Rensel

Tom Dickinson

October 3, 2017

John was one of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure to know. We were on the Arlington Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Committee together...and John's interest and enthusiasm were outstanding. However, most of all, I was always grateful for his interest in and encouragement for my son, who is an officer in the U.S. military. John never failed to ask about him and offer good advice and insights. I will REALLY miss him, in so many ways! And as a member of the Arlington Historical Society Board of Directors and Past President, I am very grateful for his request that donations in his memory go to AHS. He has thereby ensured a lasting legacy, well deserved!
Tom Dickinson

George Kolesar

September 24, 2017

John, you can't die! You are one of the brightest, most friendly, and professional people I have ever met. You helped me through some tough personal problems in my life and I will never forget your wise guidance. Your bubbly personality helped many of us in the Pentagon keep our heads on straight. We all owe you an enormous amount of gratitude. Dear friend, rest in peace and know that we will always remember your thoughtful support.

joseph INMAN

September 22, 2017

John was the best, a true human being who cared about the people around him. He and Suzanne took such good care of me when I had replacement knee surgery years ago. I will miss him LOTS and our banter.

Jack Looney

September 22, 2017

I only knew Col. Courtright through VGCA functions, but I had some very nice, and interesting, conversations with him. I just may have learned a thing, or three... or more! His presence and his knowledge will be sorely missed.

Richard Feirman

September 21, 2017

COL. John was a true gentleman. His knowledge of foreign affairs and United Stated military policy was unsurpassed. At the VGCA club meetings,we would discuss world events after the lectures. A great historian, and a great friend always willing to help. He was proud to be an Army Officer, and serve our country proudly. One time we were talking about retirement and if he enjoyed it. With a smile on his face, he repeated the following; " When these days of strife are over
And my work down here is done,
I'll set down my rifle forever
On the airdrome of the sun,
Where that Greater One keeps vigil,
Our C.O., our Flying Boss,
He whose wingspread fills the heavens
From Polaris to the Cross."
R.I.P. John. You will be missed!

John Frietsch

September 21, 2017

All my condolences to the Courtright family. I last saw John at the VGCA meeting in June, and he had the same big smile on his face as the photo above. I can tell you he will be missed by his friends in the club. May the Lord bless all of you in John's family.

September 21, 2017

Wolff and I are very sad to hear of John's passing. We hope that you and all the family will be comforted by wonderful memories. Rhea Schwartz & Paul Wolff ( Chevy Chase, MD)

Scott Elkins

September 21, 2017

Somehow I lost track of this fine fellow who always seemed to be smiling. A huge regret now that he is gone.

My heartfelt condolences and best wishes to the family