James Denbigh Halliday, 89

James Denbigh Halliday, a former resident of Ridgefield, died December 12, 2015 at the age of 89 in Jersey City, NJ, where he lived for the past 40 years.

Born January 29th, 1926 in Brooklyn, NY, his early childhood years were spent in the Park Slope section, later in Queens (where he sneaked into the 1939 Worlds Fair) and Kingston, NY.  It was the time of the Great Depression, and Jim’s family struggled like many others. He helped make ends meet by selling Collier’s and Saturday Evening Post magazines in the subways.  He recalled this as the “fledgling beginning of a career in business”.

Jim also developed a love of animals and an interest in farming in his early years.  It is possible this interest was kindled when his grandfather took him to the sheep meadow in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, where he would play with the sheep.

In 1943, at the age of 17, Jim enlisted in the Army Air Corps and entered the pilot training program.  The war ended before he could complete pilot training. After the war, courtesy of the GI Bill, he attended and graduated from Brooklyn College and NYU School of Business and embarked on a long career in the world of finance.  In the 60s and 70s he held senior executive positions at EF Hutton and the Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FCIA).  FCIA was one of the original tenants of 1 World Trade Center and Jim was always happy to have friends and family visit him at his office, often taking them to lunch at Windows on the World.  Years later, after the destruction of the WTC towers, he was very happy to see the completion of the Freedom Tower, which he could easily see from across the Hudson River in Jersey City.

In 1960, Jim, with his first wife Maryjane and their five children, moved from Glen Head, Long Island to Shadow Lane in Ridgefield.  Jim and Maryjane made many great friends in Ridgefield - the Huntoons, Shultises, Wilmots and Juchs, to name but a few.  Jim loved outdoor activities; he and the family took frequent trips to Vermont for skiing and made many summer visits to Nantucket.

It was in Ridgefield that his children soon learned that his true passion might not have been finance, but rather farming and caring for animals. He decided that it would be a good idea for his children to get their hands dirty and raise animals, beginning with chickens.  This led to his children starting an egg selling business, which involved everything from raising the chickens from chicks to gathering the eggs (the chickens tended toward free range laying), to the delivery of dozens of eggs to customers by bicycle.  Jim's enthusiasm for raising chickens was mentioned in a 1960s Business Week profile of him with the theme "Why Analysts Run Harder These Days".

Jim introduced a donkey, and later a ram (!) into the pastoral scene at 51 Shadow Lane.

Jim moved to Jersey City, NJ in the mid-70s.  It was there that he met Joyce Davison, who became his companion and then wife for 35 years until his death.

He spent the latter part of his career as a financial consultant, structuring export development and credit insurance programs in Jamaica, the Philippines and Guyana.  He lived for extended periods of time in those countries, in particular Jamaica, where he and Joyce had an apartment overlooking the Kingston  harbor.  He loved to snorkel off Lime Cay and drive to the top of Blue Mountain where the famous coffee grows.  He enjoyed immersing himself in local cultures, always making great friends along the way and creating a rich trove of stories that he shared with family, friends and anyone he happened to meet who was from one of those countries.

Jim is remembered with love by his family and friends as a smart, interesting and humble person; a raconteur and great dancer who loved to laugh and was always great company.   He loved his grandchildren and would hop on a bus, a train or a plane to visit them.

Jim is predeceased by his son, Richard, his granddaughter, Elissa, and his step-grandson, Tommy. He is survived by his wife, Joyce Davison, his children Emmett (Rose Reyes), James (Karen Eisner), Christine (Bruce Hermansdorfer), David, and their mother Maryjane Halliday, his grandchildren Nick, Marta, John, and Richard, his deceased brother Robert K. Halliday’s children Deborah, Robert, Diane, and Maryclaire, his step-children Steven, Michael (Shionnie), Edward (Katie), and Wendy (Marc), his  step-grandchildren Chuck, Christina, Amanda, and Jessica. Jim donated his body to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Anatomical Association. A celebration of his life will take place in Jersey City on January 29th, which would have been his 90th birthday.  For details contact: jhalliday2015@gmail.com.