Cover photo for Alexander A. Courtney's Obituary
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1924 Alexander 2020

Alexander A. Courtney

October 8, 1924 — April 11, 2020

Alexander A. Courtney, 95, passed away on April 11, 2020 at his home in Westwood, MA, surrounded by his family. He was born on October 8, 1924 in Dorchester, MA to Alexander and Florence Courtney. He graduated from Boston Latin School in 1942, and enlisted in the Army during World War II where he received a commission and served as an intelligence officer. Following the war, he attended Harvard College (B.A.1947), and Harvard Business School (M.B.A. 1949). In 1949 he married Mary Elisabeth Printon of Belmont, MA. They raised three children together, and were happily married for 49 years until her passing in 1998.

His working career started with Proctor & Gamble in Boston but it was interrupted when he was recalled into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was assigned to the Pentagon, serving on the Army General Staff in his capacity as an expert on evasion, escape, and resistance to enemy interrogation.
In 1952, after mustering out of the Army for the second time, Courtney joined the Coleman Co. in Wichita, KS, rising to the position of national sales manager for the home heating division. In 1958, he left Coleman to enter the employment services field as a franchise owner of Manpower Inc., opening Tri-City Manpower, Inc. in Albany, NY. There he introduced the new idea of temporary help to a community that had never heard of it. He had enough capital to fund his fledgling company for just 27 weeks, but at week fourteen he secured a large order that put the business into the black where it remained for the rest of his career.

A serial entrepreneur, Courtney also started and ran North Carolina Allstates, Inc. a truck driver leasing firm (1960), and Mohawk Public Warehousing (1983). Also in 1983 he purchased another Manpower franchise in Hagerstown MD, Marvatemp, Inc.
During those years he made time to indulge his favorite passion, fishing, which he did with great zeal, in the Adirondacks, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, as well as Alaska, New Zealand, and Ireland. He and Mary also loved to travel together, which they did extensively before and after their retirement.
Al was an active member of Rotary International for many years. In Albany, NY he served as President and later as District Governor. He was proud also to be a Paul Harris Fellow. Upon moving to Westwood, MA, he was a Senior Active member. Additionally, he served on the Boards of numerous non-profit organizations.

Courtney retired from active business pursuits in 1991, and he and Mary moved to Westwood, MA in 1997.
Following Mary's untimely passing in 1998, Al was fortunate to find love again with Elinor Donovan. In October 2000 they were married, and for almost 20 years they enjoyed extensive travel, golf, winters in Florida, and visiting with family. In recent years they have taken pleasure in their children living in the Westwood area, and visits from relatives and friends from around the country and the world.

Al will be remembered fondly for his wit, intelligence, generosity, and for his unshakeable confidence in the correctness of his own opinions! He loved gatherings of family and friends which usually included good food and wine.

Al is survived by his wife Elinor of Westwood MA, his three children, Alec (Ellen) of Glenmont, NY; Bob (Marcy) of Orchard Park, NY; and Joan Murray (Bob) of Westwood, MA. He will also be greatly missed by his eight grandchildren: Rob Courtney (Catherine Cesnik) and great-grandson Walter of Minneapolis, MN; Drew Courtney (Nick Berning) of Washington, DC; Bruce Courtney (Linda Wu) and great-granddaughter Violet of Barrington RI; Alex Courtney (Claire) of Colorado Springs, CO; Bill Courtney (Kate Schroeder) of Somerville, MA; Brendan Murray (Taylor Raftery) of Boston, MA; Greg Murray of Westwood, MA; and Anna Murray of Burlington, VT. He is also survived by Elinor's four sons, Brian Donovan (Linda) of Leesburg, VA; Robert Donovan of New York, NY; John Donovan (Denise) of Oak Park, IL; and Mark Donovan (Dawn) of Westwood, MA, and their children and grandchildren.

Considering present circumstances, no services are planned at this time. A celebration of his life will be held for family and friends at a later date.
To leave a message for the family please go to

Anyone wishing to commemorate Al's life may make a donation in his memory to the Rotary Foundation, or to Rotary Gift of Life at
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alexander A. Courtney, please visit our flower store.


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