Alex and Sonja Spier
The Spier Family Foundation at a Glance
The mission of the Spier Family Foundation founding members, Alex and Sonja Spier was to leave the world a better place. Alex passed away in September, 2017, but he lived a remarkable life and left behind an incredible legacy.
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 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 and in 1961 he started Mayfair Realty and built his first building named Eagle Manor. Eventually his Real Estate holdings included Pine Tree Gardens Apartments, Putnam Village, Hillcrest Village in Foxboro, MA as well as properties in Walpole and Wrentham, MA.
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 to LOCAL causes including the Foxboro Fire Dept. Bethany Church, The Hockomock YMCA, The Boyden Library, and The Foxboro Senior Center. He also funded major research projects for Cancer, Heart Disease, Vascular Disease, and contributed the Cancer Infusion floor in the Yawkey Building at Massachusetts General Hospital. 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 skied from childhood and brought his love of it to his whole family. He loved hiking and biking and most of all boating – from kayaking to sailing adventures. Alex and Sonja loved to travel and together explored much of Europe as well as Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
Always a 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.
His legacy to leave the world a better place lives on through the Spier Family Foundation. In order to carry out this mission, the Foundation is dedicated to improving the well-being of the communities in which we work and live.