Alphonsus (Alphie) McCourt, youngest brother of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, died on July 2nd in Manhattan. He would have been 76 on July 29th. He is survived by his wife Lynn, his daughter Allison, and the last surviving McCourt brother, Malachy.
“He was feeling unwell this afternoon and thought he’d lie down,” Ellen McCourt, Frank’s widow, told IrishCentral, “and he never woke up.”
McCourt was the author of A Long Stone’s Throw (Sterling and Ross, 2008), a memoir. The primary theme of the book, he told Jerry Tallmer of the The Villager newspaper, was the family’s chronic indigence: “Poverty flew in, love flew out,” he said, matter-of-factly.
His book details his life in Ireland, Canada, and the United States and his battle for survival—which was manifested in the amazing range of odd jobs he held over the years: “You know how all the jobs some writer has had are listed on the jacket of the book? Well, my life is like a big book jacket.”
He went on to detail, in hilarious fashion, his factotum work life: “Working on a great glop-a-da-glop mainframe computer on Wall Street; issuing tickets for British and Irish Railways; a one-day job as bellhop in a Montreal hotel; a bank teller in Montreal; an encyclopedia salesman — for a month; working at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service on 14th Street as a buyer of luggage and musical instruments, knowing nothing about luggage and less about musical instruments; filing clerk; and, oh yes, teacher.”
He is also the author of Heartscald, The Soulswimmer and several Hachette Audios.
There will be a gathering at Riverside Funeral Home (180 West 76th Street) on Wednesday, July 6th, at 6 p.m.