Jeweler, Watchmaker, Merchant, Builder, Developer and Philanthropist
Alexander L. Spier of Foxboro and Naples, FL passed away peacefully in the presence of his wife Sonja and Daughter in-law Kathryn Crane-Spier on Saturday September 30, 2017, in Naples FL.
Alex grew up in Amsterdam, Holland and was a member of the Dutch Underground during WWII. He was involved in a number of engagements prior to his capture and imprisonment in Auschwitz Concentration Camp in 1941 and eventual liberation from Bergen Belsen in April 1944.
After the war he emigrated to America in 1945, and initially stayed with his late sister, Lore Siegel in New Bedford, MA. Utilizing his skills as a watchmaker, he gained employment with local jewelers until he opened Spier the Jeweler in Mansfield, MA in 1947.
He met Sonja Vorsanger in 1951 and within 82 days they married on October 21,1951 and moved to Foxboro, where Alex and Sonja opened their second store at 40 Central St. in 1953. Alex continued to operate the store until 1970, when he sold the store after an armed robbery. Alex began buying property in Foxboro in 1953 when he purchased 36 Main St, followed by 11 Rockhill St, and 21 Bird St. In 1961 he started Mayfair Realty and built his first building at 103-105 Chestnut St., and named it Eagle Manor. Subsequently he bought land next door at 101 Chestnut St. and built Pine Tree Gardens Apartments, followed by Putnam Village, Putnam Village East, Putnam Village West, and Hillcrest Village. Eventually his Real Estate holdings included warehouses in Walpole, MA, The King Philip Plaza in Wrentham, MA and 124 Washington St in Foxboro.
Alex was engaged with the Town of Foxboro from the very beginning. He was member of the PTO, The Municipal Building Committee, Chair of the Foxboro Planning Board, Fair Housing Committee, High School Building Committee, Permanent School and Building Committee, Liaison Committee, State Hospital Land Use and Acquisition Committee,Cannon Forge Liaison Committee, Growth Management Committee, Trustee of the Attleboro Savings Bank, Director of The Foxboro National Bank, and Vice President of the Builders Association of Greater Boston and he was a Mason.
Alex’s core belief, “He wanted to leave the world a better place than he found it.” This belief led to decades of philanthropic giving both personal and through the Spier Family Foundation. Local causes including the Foxboro Fire Dept. Bethany Church, The Hockomock YMCA, The Boyden Library, and The Foxboro Senior Center are all beneficiaries of that giving. He also made contributions to Massachusetts General Hospital to Fund a variety of major research projects for Cancer, Heart Disease, Vascular Disease, as well as equipment for research, diagnostics and surgery both at MGH and Naples Community Hospital in Naples, FL He contributed the Cancer Infusion floor in the Yawkey Building and provides funding for Home Base as well as Alzheimers Research. He contributed 50 homes to Habitat for Humanity in Naples, Fl, and in 2013 Alex was named one of the Ten Most Influential People in Naples, FL.
Alex was also an avid sportsman. He ski’d from child hood and brought his love of it to his whole family. He loved hiking and biking and most of all boating. From his Kayak folboat, and sunfish to the Half Pint motor and water ski boat to the Ho-Tei his 30 foot Pearson sailboat in Newport, RI he used and loved them all. There were many outings with Sonja and the kids and then later with their spouses and grand children. Sailing adventures included Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket as well cruising in the US and British Virgin Island. Alex and Sonja loved to travel together and had many trips to Europe including Italy, Turkey, Greece, Germany, Holland, Austria, Scandinavia, and more as well as trips to Russia ,China, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Always simple and non presumptive man, Alex appeared as an every man, yet his work ethic spoke volumes about him and distinguished him. Where others may have quit, his dogged determination drove him on and influenced many around him. Be it work, play, civic duty or giving he could always be counted on to lead the charge. He provided jobs for dozens of locals in many of his businesses, always offering encouragement and advice to help others improve and achieve their potential. Alex Spier was a small man in stature but a giant in life.
Alex leaves his Wife of 65 years Sonja(Vorsanger), Son, Greg Spier(Kathy), Daughter Dianne Weinfeld(Kevin) and Grand sons Samuel Weinfeld (Tia) of Foxboro and Harrison Weinfeld of Los Angeles, CA.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend calling hours on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 from 4-8 PM at the Roberts and Sons Funeral Home, 30 South St. in Foxboro. A funeral service will be held on Thursday at 11 AM at Bethany Congregational Chuch, 3 Rockhill St. in Foxboro. Interment to follow at Rock Hill Cemetery in Foxboro. To light a candle in Alex’s memory please visit our web site at www.robertsandsonsfuneralhome.com. For additional information please contact 508-543-5471.
Donations in Alex's memory may be made to the Hockomock YMCA Reach Out for Youth and Families, 300 Elmwood St. North Attleboro, MA 02760.