James R. Greenfield, Esq., of New Haven, CT, died peacefully September 5, 2019, at the age of 93 after a long life well-lived.
Jim was born March 31, 1926 in Philadelphia, PA to the late Katherine (nee Rosenberg) and Milton Greenfield. He was predeceased by his first wife, Phyllis Chaplowe, and his brother William. Jim grew up in Philadelphia and New York, attending Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, class of 1943. He had fond memories of riding the subway to work in New York City with his father, and summers in Atlantic City with his favorite cousins, Charlotte Baumgarten and Norman Berger. Later, he enjoyed summers in Maine with friends, and traveling, theater, and movies with his second wife, Joyce, whom he married in 1980.
Jim graduated from Bates College in 1947 and Yale Law School in 1950. During his undergraduate years, he served in the US Navy V12 program, ultimately stationed on Guam before returning to graduate from Bates. Following his graduation from Yale, he began practicing law in New Haven where he specialized in matrimonial law until his retirement in 2012.
Jim was a well-respected and active member of his community and the New Haven County, Connecticut, and American Bar Associations for 62 years, serving many volunteer leadership positions including President of the New Haven County Bar, President of the CT Bar Association, President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and President of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. He also served on the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and the Board of Directors of Friends of Legal Aid.
He was the recipient of numerous awards recognizing him for his service and dedication including the CBA Distinguished Professional Service Award, New Haven Legal Assistance Association (LAA) Equal Access to Justice Award, the New Haven County Bar Lifetime Achievement Award, and the New Haven LAA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jim was a progressive thinker who was ahead of his time, generously devoting his attention to causes in which he believed. He successfully convinced members of the New Haven County Bar to agree to recognize the New Haven LAA. Some of his most gratifying work was with Hillary Clinton on the Commission on the Status of Women in the Profession, whose work improved the working environment for women in the law. His annual weekend retreats with "The Dirty Thirty," a prestigious professional and social group of family law attorneys, brought him great joy and many close friendships. Throughout his career, he unfailingly maintained the highest standards of practice: an ethical, peaceful, even-keeled gentleman, always.
To his family, Jim was known for his kindness, intelligence, humor, steady nature, and, especially, his generosity. Jim provided many words of wisdom often quoted to this day, and he was a willing source of humorous anecdotes about his quirks and unfiltered observations. He lived his life to the end, following his favorite principle: "and this above all; to thine own self be true."
Jim will be greatly missed by his wife of 39 years, Joyce (MacDonald) Greenfield, and his stepchildren Kristin Alexander (Gilbert) of Arlington, MA, Kurt Koehler of Darien, CT, and Heidi Rogers (Andrew) of Fairfield, CT, as well as his step-grandchildren, William Koehler, Ethan and Sam Alexander, and Drew and Evelyn Rogers. He will also be missed by his close family in California and New Jersey.
Donations in Jim's honor may be made to the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, 205 Church Street, New Haven, CT 06510, or the charity of your choice
If you would like to be notified of a Memorial Service to be scheduled in October, please email [email protected]
Published by The New Haven Register on Sep. 10, 2019.