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Michael D. "Denny" McCartney, 75, passed away on Sunday, April 2, 2023 at Illini Community Hospital in Pittsfield, IL. Denny was born February 22, 1948 in Pittsfield, IL. He was the eldest son of the late Frank Jr. McCartney and Mildred Yokem McCartney of rural Summer Hill, IL. He married his high school sweetheart, Diana L. Jeffries on July 15, 1967 in Pittsfield, IL. They were married over 55 years and had four children.
Denny was a graduate of Pittsfield High School in 1965 where he was active in football, basketball and baseball. He went on to attend and play football at Western Illinois University, graduating in 1969. He then started his career as a PE teacher and coach at Brown County High School in Mt. Sterling, IL in 1969. He was well known for starting the wrestling program, as well as coaching the football team, later becoming the head coach in 1971 and continuing his BCHS coaching career through 1976. He remained in contact with many of his former students and players often being referred to as Coach "Mike" McCartney.
In 1976, Denny moved his family back to rural Summer Hill, IL to begin farming with his parents on the family farm. He spent countless hours farming and for several years sold Burrus Seed. He returned back to coaching in 1980 at Pittsfield High School as an assistant for the Saukee football program through 1987, also assisting in starting the Saukee wrestling program. He later resumed his teaching career as the health education instructor in 1985, also serving as the Pikeland Unit #10 bus dispatcher for several years prior to his retirement in 2013. In his 28 years with the district, Denny impacted many students and players. Known as hard-nosed on the football field, in the classroom, however, he will be remembered as the "favorite" teacher of many due to his soft-spoken, kind-hearted approach.
In his earlier years, Denny and his wife were actively involved in Marriage Encounter Enrichment in which they spent 20 weekends over 8 years presiding as Team Presentation Couple. They were also both active in local youth ministry, spending several years leading the youth group. In his most recent years, he worked for Callender Construction and LSSD Inc as a truck driver.
In 1999, Denny was diagnosed with a rare form of Mesothelioma. He fought the disease hard and was a 24 year survivor. His last 20 plus years were spent holding the title as the #1 fan of his 8 grandchildren. He could often be found at basketball, baseball and softball events in the stands, parked along outfield fences or in the audience for various music and dance performances. There was nothing he was more passionate about than supporting the family he and Diana had created. Denny was also known throughout the community for his selfless acts of kindness.
Survivors include his loving wife, Diana McCartney; his beloved family of four children, Lisa and husband, Eric Scranton of Pittsfield, IL, Debbie and husband, Matt Elledge of Highland, IL, Michael and wife Crystal McCartney of Pittsfield, IL and Brad and wife Liz McCartney of O'Fallon, IL; eight grandchildren, Alayna and Nate Scranton, Aaron and Austin Elledge, Mattison and Grant McCartney and Lily and Maggie McCartney. Surviving siblings include Mary Kay and husband John Hayden of Pittsfield, IL, Pat and wife Jera McCartney of Mt. Pulaski, IL, Rick and wife Wendy McCartney of Hull, IL , Tom and wife Marlys McCartney of Savoy, IL and Cecelia and husband Mike Nevius of Pittsfield, IL.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, April 5, 2023 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Niebur Funeral Home in Pittsfield. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11:00 AM at the funeral home with interment to follow at Pittsfield West Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to be made to the Denny McCartney Scholarship Fund. Online condolences may be left to the family at www.nieburfh.com. Niebur Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Denny McCartney Scholarship Fund