James Mathis Pfohl of Forest Hills Gardens, NY died peacefully surrounded by his family on June 5, 2019 at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, CT after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was the beloved husband of Elizabeth O’Shea, his wife of 46 years.
Jim was born on May 9, 1932, the middle child of the late Pauline Mathis and Louis Pfohl. He was a graduate of Chaminade High School, the University of Notre Dame and Harvard Law School. He served as a first lieutenant JAG officer in the US Marine Corps. In 1958, he joined Plaxall, his family’s business in Long Island City, NY. During his 50 years as President, Jim led Plaxall with humility and helped spearhead the company’s expansion from plastic packaging into the real estate management firm it is today. In addition, he ran the Fischer Companies, the family’s business in Dubuque, IA.
Jim was known for his profound generosity to the Catholic Church, educational institutions, and various charities in New York and Iowa. Jim served as a trustee of the St. David’s School in Manhattan and a director of the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation. Jim was also a dedicated sports enthusiast and a lifetime member of the New York Athletic Club, over 50 year member of the Harvard Club, and longtime member of the West Side Tennis Club.
In addition to his wife, Jim is survived by his adoring children Samara (and husband Peter Bilden), Tony, Margot, and Cynthia (and husband Michael Erensen), his cherished grandchildren Benjamin, James, Caroline, and Zachary Bilden and Henry and Nellie Erensen, his loving sisters Ann Kirby and Lynn Quigley, and an extraordinarily close extended family.
Jim will be remembered for his devotion to his family, his business acumen, his strong moral character, his sense of humor, and his unwavering loyalty to his friends. He will be missed most dearly. His family expresses immense gratitude to his faithful caretaker and friend Reynaldo, who took impeccable care of Jim with a loving heart to the end.
Visiting hours Sunday from 2-5pm and 7-9pm at Fox Funeral Home in Forest Hills and Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Forest Hills June 10 at 10am. In lieu of flowers, donations to Hills & Dales, 1011 Davis Street, Dubuque, IA 52001.
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