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Courtney F. Rynne, Korean War vet sold cars to dignitaries in downtown Manhattan

Aug. 1, 1930 – Dec. 4, 2015

Courtney F. Rynne, of Buffalo, who sold cars to diplomats and celebrities for many years at a dealership in midtown Manhattan, died Friday in Buffalo General Medical Center after a short illness. He was 85.

Born in Detroit, he played football for St. Mary of Redford High School’s Catholic League championship team. After graduating in 1948, he went to work for General Motors in the Exhibit and Exhibitions Division, then was drafted into the Army during the Korean War.

He served as a sergeant in the 8th Army’s 35th Infantry Regiment and, because he stood tall at 6-foot-3, was selected to be a member of a divisional honor guard when President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled a campaign promise to visit the front lines in Korea in 1952.

After the war, he returned to GM and toured the nation with the company’s exhibits at fairs and auto shows. In 1964, he was transferred to New York City to help manage exhibits in GM’s Futurama Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.

Mr. Rynne and his family enjoyed New York so much that he asked to stay there. He was transferred to a sales management position at Circle Buick, a dealership owned by GM at Broadway and 55th Street, where his customers included Soviet diplomats, Arab sheiks, famous musicians playing nearby Carnegie Hall and boxing legend Jack Dempsey, whose restaurant was just a few blocks down Broadway.

In 1991, he and his wife moved to Buffalo’s Elmwood Village to be near a daughter and her children.

He was a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and was an altar server for funeral Masses.

He enjoyed traveling, attending cultural events and bass fishing with his sons and sons-in-law in Maine and at Chautauqua Lake.

His wife of 47 years, the former Dorothy H. Brazitis, died in 2001.

Survivors include two daughters, Kathleen M. Gibbons and Patricia A. Johnson; two sons, James M. and Courtney D.; a special friend, Connie La Penna; nine grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday in Blessed Sacrament Church, 1029 Delaware Ave.

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