COURSEY, Rex and Catherine

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COURSEY, Charles Reginald “Rex” (1896-1981) and Catherine “Kitty” MacDonald Coursey (1911-1993), lived on Anacapa Island as lighthouse keepers in the 1930s. They married on December 1, 1929 in Reno, Nevada. Rex was a lighthouse keeper and he and Kitty served on lighthouses on the west coast. Most notable were on Anacapa Island and the Point Sur Lighthouse. Daughter Eula (1931-1996) was born while they lived on Anacapa Island, and their second daughter, Ruth, was born in Ventura, California. Rex retired from lighthouse service in April 1945, and the family moved to Antioch, California, where third daughter, Karen, was born in May 1945.

While on Anacapa, Kitty fell and was taken to Ventura by the Battleship, U.S.S. California. Kitty and Rex lived in Antioch, California until 1965 when they moved to Carson City, Nevada and later Yerington, Nevada. After Rex died, Kitty moved to Pryor, Oklahoma to live with daughter Karen and her husband Walt. She spent time every year in California with family there. She was with her sister, Jean Macdonald Fashbaugh, in Antioch, CA, when she became ill and was hospitalized in a Concord, CA hospital until her death.

In the News~

November 21, 1934 [San Jose News]: “A lighthouse keeper's wife possibly owed her life today to the United States fleet which sent its $30,000,000 battleship, California, on an errand of mercy to Anacapa Island, 30 miles off the local coast line. Mrs. C.R. Coursey's husband radioed operations base at San Pedro that she was in need of medical attention and the station ordered the California to offer aid. The battleship was steaming up the coast to Bremerton, Wash. A ship's doctor went ashore and after prescribing hospital care, brought her aboard. The battleship transported her across Santa Barbara channel to Ventura, where an ambulance, summoned by ship's radio, was waiting to take her to the hospital. Mrs. Coursey was given a good chance to recover.”

November 1934: The wife of assistant keeper Rex Coursey was seriously injured in a fall in 1934, and the battleship California was radioed to bring her to the mainland hospital.

December 31, 1934 [SDET] “Recently when the flagship California was going north to Puget Sound navy yard for overhaul, a radio message was received from the lighthouse keeper on Anacapa Island, and the big battleship proceeded to that place in answer to a call that Mrs. C. R. Coursey, wife of an assistant keeper, was seriously ill. A surgeon was sent ashore, and the woman was taken on the battleship across the Santa Barbara channel to Ventura, where an ambulance was waiting. Due to the prompt action of the naval vessel and the medical staff in caring for her immediately, an even chance of recovery is predicted.”