QUEENS, N.Y. — James Mathis Pfohl, of Forest Hills Gardens, in Queens, N.Y., died peacefully surrounded by his family on June 5, 2019, at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Conn., 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 U.S. Marine Corps. In 1958, he joined Plaxall, his family’s business in Long Island City, N.Y. 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, Iowa.
Jim was known for his profound generosity to the Catholic Church, educational institutions, and various charities in New York and Iowa. 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 a 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.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Forest Hills, on June 10, 2019. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hills and Dales, 1011 Davis Street, Dubuque, IA 52001.