Cortland M. Major

Major, Cortland photoCortland M. Major, age 69, of Lansing, MI, passed away June 9, 2017.

Cortland started his life in rural Howell, Michigan, one of five children.  Feeling the call of adventure and desiring to serve his country, Cortland signed up for the Navy at the age of 17.  Making his way back to Michigan at the age of 22, Cortland met the love of his life in a record store.  They married shortly after and had six children together.

Cortland Major was many things.  Minister, carpenter, avid reader, gardener, brother, son, uncle, grandfather, husband, and friend.  But the defining role of his life, the task for which he was uniquely gifted, was Father.

Cortland devoted his life to his children.  When he became a single father at 35, he passed up the nights out, vacations, and freedom from responsibility many men of similar circumstances would have gladly embraced, choosing instead to be a single father at a time when that was extremely rare.  He sacrificed his free time, his energy, his youth, (and certainly all of his money!) to raise six free-spirited, hard headed, and sometimes difficult children.  He worked overtime to make sure his kids had a roof over their heads and food to eat.  Cortland also became surrogate father to many of his children’s friends.  All of them at one time or another had a friend move in; sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes for a year or more.  He never asked questions, only spreading his wings of protection over anyone in need.

It wasn’t unusual for Cortland to run to the store for a gallon of milk and come back with milk and a homeless person in need of human kindness.  He would give anyone a seat at his table, a warm meal, the clothes off his back, whatever money he had in his pocket, and most importantly, prayers.

Once an avid hunter, while on his last hunting trip Cortland found two baby deer snuggled up to their dead mother that had been shot but never tracked.  That day, he didn’t come home with the buck he’d set out for, but instead two deer too weak and hungry to stand.  Cortland bought some artificial turf and set up a pen in the living room, hand feeding the deer with bottles of milk until they were strong enough to transfer to a local wildlife rescue.

Cortland Major was as strong as he was kind, more so than most human beings.  He never backed down from voicing his opinion, railing against injustice wherever he saw it no matter how big or small–for as he taught his kids–principles are everything.  His kids are proud that among them all, not one ever witnessed a time that Dad saw something unjust and did nothing.  Cortland Major wasn’t afraid of anybody!  He stood up against those that mistreated others, and stood up for those that couldn’t do so for themselves.  He taught his kids and grandkids to be strong and kind, work hard, pull their own weight, fiercely love their country, and most importantly, to trust God with all of their hearts.

Cortland Major touched more lives than his family ever realized.  They knew the wonderful man he was to them, but it was through the stories of friends and even strangers after his death that they realized what he was to the world around him.  Beyond his courage, kindness, work ethic, principles, and unshakeable faith, Cortland was also more humble than any man of his human accomplishments should be.  He was truly a giant of a man.  And while the earth has lost a bright light, Heaven has gained a heavyweight of an angel.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. His family will receive friends beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of Michigan or the VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids.

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15 Messages to “Cortland M. Major

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Ted Reid
June 12, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Cort was a great guy! A great dad as well as a friend….and carpenter! Nothing he couldn’t do when it came to that! He will be missed!

Tasha Robinson White
June 12, 2017 at 8:26 pm

Sorry to hear about your loss… I didn’t know Mr. Major however I knew his son Cort in middle school and he was a very cool dude. I loss my father almost 5 years ago and I know this isn’t. My prayers are with the entire family..

Susan Freeman
June 12, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Cort, Virgina and family, you are in my thoughts and prayers. So sorry for your loss.

Ceara Lightner
June 12, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Goodbye Grandpa Major, heaven awaits you…I will miss you…

Paul Dalton
June 13, 2017 at 7:16 am

Friend and brother in Christ. Missed but not forgotten. Paul and Diane Dalton and family

Robert harder
June 13, 2017 at 7:40 am

Wow my heart is with family

William Michell
June 13, 2017 at 8:33 am

My good and close friend, my covenant brother took his last breath in this world and now is breathing the Eternal Breath of heaven! I’m going to miss you dear brother until I join you in few more years! Thanks for all your prayers over these years. Now it’s continuous non stop in His joyous presence!

Laurie baum
June 13, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Oh Mr.Major, what a fun adult he was for us kids! So strong, so kind. A true brother, a true friend…you will be so missed by so many.

Leah Alchin Piper
June 13, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Love & respect for Mr. Major. I didn’t know him well but I remember him from my childhood as being kind, gentle, strong, & handsome. You got the feeling he was not to be trifled with but that you were also safer in the world when he was in the room. Sending my condolences to his family.

Brian Watkins
June 13, 2017 at 10:40 pm

So a few weeks ago I moved into my new house. One of the first people to introduce themselves and talk with me was my next door neighbor, Cortland Major. I was only able to have a handful of conversations with him before his passing. Meeting him, it was immediately apparent that he was a tremendously genuine, caring, humble, and interesting man–a wonderful and obvious example of our capacity as people to be and do good.

I am not at all surprised to read that he lived a life of marked compassion, patent devotion to his family, and spent himself in the service of others’ happiness and well-being. The world is our shared story. It makes me happy that Cortland was here to write his chapter.

My thoughts are with Cortland’s family and those grieving his death. While my friendship with Cortland was brief and in passing, it inspired a certain warmth and gratitude. I will miss my neighbor.

Jack Stohr
June 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm

Thanks for your friendship and the example you were to me. Loved to hear your stories. I remember when you won the Magnum P.I. (Tom Selleck) look-alike contest! Always a leader, now you made it heaven first.

Tawn O'Connor
June 14, 2017 at 7:29 pm

To Cortland’s family, I am sorry for your loss and grateful he is with Christ. I have lost touch over the years but I certainly remember your dad. In the midst of grief, I hope a humorous memory is appropriate. Ask someone about the time your dad won a Tom Selleck lookalike contest.

Dennis Preston
June 15, 2017 at 12:36 am

Cortland… you were truly an original (and still are but you are in a very cool place now)… I don’t know anybody that is exactly like you. You are someone that no one can forget. I first met you at Sounds & Diversions in Free Spirit (before Shiloh days) when I was painting murals down there and designing their ads… I believe Rod Shessia might have introduced you to me. Maybe that’s where you met your wife? Anyway… even then you stood out to me… bold features and a bold character.

Cindy Bruton
June 16, 2017 at 12:09 pm

RIP Dear Cortland….long time friends from school
God Bless..Tim Blackburn and Cindy Bruton (Bowshier)

Marsha Major Gutierrez
June 18, 2017 at 1:52 pm

My big brother, my strength, my friend! We had many phone conversations but particularly in the last two years since Bunny got sick..: you were always full of faith and encouragement and gave me advice and lifted me when I was discouraged or afraid… my heart aches and I will miss you terribly till we meet again.


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