Essex Junction - Ronald Alfred Court (Courtemanche), 78, of Essex Junction and formerly, Warren, VT died of prostate cancer on November 24, 2019 at the Respite House in Colchester, VT. Ron came to Vermont in 1970 to ski, fell in love with the state and chose to make his life here. He believed in making a positive difference in the lives of others and became a leader in local service organizations, re-discovered his Christian faith, patriotism and deep love for his family.
Ron, born in Springfield, MA on November 18, 1941, was the son of Liberda M. Claing and Roland A. Courtemanche. A graduate of Wellesley (MA) High School, he attended Bucknell University.
In 1962, he hitch-hiked around the country, coast to coast and back. Traveling with a sleeping bag and suitcase, he encountered people of many colors, creeds, kindnesses and various prejudices, coming away with a profound insight: we are fundamentally all of one race - the human race.
Upon returning, he entered Boston University, worked his way through, graduating in 1965 with a BA in Political Science. He was commissioned a Lieutenant, served in Vietnam and received a Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
He moved to Warren, VT in 1970 transitioning from ‘ski bum’ to real estate broker to real estate developer. When one of his companies went bust, he moved to Essex Junction, joined Pomerleau Real Estate and eventually became an adjunct instructor at Champlain College.
He ran for Vermont State Representative from Essex Junction in 1985 and though initially narrowly ‘elected’, he lost the recount, one of the best things he said happened to him. It freed him to think about pursuing something really meaningful in life.
In 2005, he founded the Booker T. Washington Society, a non-profit dedicated to “Building Character, Inspiring Lives.” This became his true calling and the most satisfying, yet challenging work of his life.
Ron served as an elected Essex Junction Trustee, a Rotarian for over 35 years, a Director of the Burlington Boys and Girls Club, and founding Director/Treasurer of Vermonters for Educational Choice.
One of Ron’s greatest joys was knowing his sons had embraced, much earlier than he, the things that really matter: the vision, virtues and values that make for a truly successful life.
He spoke often about how grateful he was that Pastor Scott Slocum and several Essex Alliance Church members helped bring him back to Jesus Christ.
Ron is survived by his former spouse, Pamela Lerner, his ‘best possible partner’ in raising their twin sons, Roland Alexander Court, of Lake Balboa CA and Barnaby Lerner Court of Raleigh, NC, along with their respective spouses, Jennifer Russell Court and Jamie Katz Court. He leaves 2 beautiful grandsons, James Elliott Court and Samuel Avery Court.
He is also survived by his sisters, Sue Luby and husband, Ralph, and Louise Stebbins and husband, John, and nieces and nephews, Steve, Cyndy, Amanda, Josh, Gabriella and their spouses and children.
Visiting hours will be at AW Rich Funeral home, 57 Main Street, Essex Junction, on Thursday, December 5, 2019 from 5-8PM. Funeral services will be held on December 6, 2019 at 11AM at Essex Alliance Church, 37 Old Stage Road, Essex Junction, VT 05452
In lieu of flowers, please send gifts in Ron’s memory to the Booker T. Washington Society (btwsociety.org/donate)
A gathering of family and friends will be held following the service. He will be interred at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center, Vermont at a later date. The family would like to convey sincere and special thanks to Dr. Alexander Fuld and the wonderful caring staff at the VA Medical Hospital in White River Junction and McClure Miller VNA Respite House.