8 entries
  • "Walt was a leader in alerting world fisheries interests..."
    - Harold Tyus
  • "Walt Courtenay was an important mentor and advisor to me..."
    - Buck Snelson
  • "I met Walt in the late 70s at meetings of the Desert Fishes..."
    - Gary Meffe
  • "Walt was my undergraduate professor and adviser at FAU in..."
    - Jan Jeffrey Hoover
  • "I knew Walt while he was at FAU and had the highest regard..."
    - William Kennedy
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WALTER R., JR., 80

Gainesville - Walter R. Courtenay, Jr. died at Gainesville, Florida, on January 30, 2014 at age 80. He was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, on November 6, 1933, son of Walter Rowe and Emily Simpson Courtenay, both deceased. The family moved to Nashville, Tennessee in February, 1944, where his father was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. He completed his B.A. degree at Vanderbilt University in 1956 and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Miami in 1965.

He served as a faculty member at Duke University (1963-65), Boston University (1965-67), and Florida Atlantic University at Boca Raton (1967-1999) where he twice chaired the Department of Biological Sciences. At various times he also held research appointments with the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Harvard University), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Arizona State University. He served as consultant on introduced fishes for the Fishery Resources and Environment Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Budapest and Rome in 1988, for the Foundation for Research Development, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa in 1988, for South Australia Department of Fisheries, Adelaide, Australia in 1989, and for the Office of Technology Assessment, Congress of the United States, in 1991-92. After retirement he relocated to Gainesville, Florida, where he continued his research alongside colleagues at the University of Florida, several of whom he collaborated with on various projects and publications. In 2000 he was made fellow emeritus of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists. In 2007, at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in San Francisco, he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Walter was an ichthyologist and a leading authority on invasive nonindigenous fish, particularly those introduced into the United States. Among his numerous publications are Distribution, Biology, and Management of Exotic Fishes (1984), coedited with Jay Stauffer, and Snakeheads (Pisces, Channidae), a Biological Synopsis and Risk Assessment (2004), coauthored with James D. Williams. In his final years he held the position of Courtesy Curator for the Florida Museum of Natural History at Gainesville and Research Fishery Biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, at the Florida Integrated Science Center in Gainesville.

Walter was predeceased by his beloved wife, Patricia, who passed away in early 2007. He is survived by his brother, William J. Courtenay of Madison, Wisconsin; stepmother Ann S. Courtenay of Advance, North Carolina; son, Walter R. Courtenay, III of Cary, North Carolina; and daughter Catherine C. Kantner, her husband Barry and granddaughter Caitlin of Gainesville, Florida; and his children's mother Francine S. Courtenay of Ocala, Florida. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made to Haven Hospice, 4200 NW 90th Blvd, Gainesville, Florida 32606.

Arrangements are under the care of WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME WESTAREA, 823 NW 143rd Street. Please visit his memorial page at



(352) 376-7556

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Published in Gainesville Sun on Feb. 10, 2014
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