James Paffhausen was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan August 3, 1925, one of ten children. Before his last year of High School, he was drafted into the Army, where he served as a General’s Assistant, in the Pacific theatre, in battles in New Guinea and the Philippines, the invasion of Leyte, and in the initial stages of the occupation of Japan in MacArthur’s headquarters. He was a decorated veteran, with four Bronze Stars.
After being discharged in 1946, he returned to Michigan to finish his schooling and begin college. His father Joseph died in 1948, leaving his mother alone with several children yet to raise. In 1950, he was recalled to serve during the Korean War, most of which was spent at Fort Ord, California. After discharge, he join an Army buddy in his real estate finance business, A.H. Gruetzmacher, in Chicago, a career which he would pursue until he was 85.
In 1955, he met Louise Shrader at her father’s funeral, who was one of his business associates. They were married in 1957, and had their first child James in 1959 (Metropolitan Jonah), and a second child, Laura, in 1962. They moved from Chicago to a suburb, Downers Grove, in 1964.
In 1967, Jim left Gruetzmacher and formed a mortgage banking firm in Los Angeles. After two years, however, he returned to Chicago. In 1970, he joined partners in San Diego in another real estate and finance firm and the family moved to La Jolla, a suburb of San Diego. Eventually he and his partners bought and developed houses at the Escondido Country Club, in northern San Diego County.
In 1980 Jim formed Presidio Capital Corporation, and worked on the financing of many major real estate projects throughout California and beyond. He wrote a market commentary newsletter, and had a very accurate sense of the financial markets, coming problems and recessions. Despite declining health, he continued with his business and newsletter until 2010, when at 85 he decided to retire.
He and Louise moved to Washington, DC, in March of 2012, to be near their son, Metropolitan Jonah. He suffered the loss of his daughter Laura a year ago, in November, 2012. His health suffered considerably as well and a short time before his death, he fell and broke his hip, had surgery, and was not able to return home from the hospital.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Louise; and his son James Jr, (Metropolitan Jonah). He has one surviving sibling, Lorraine Thompson, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a multitude of nieces and nephews.
He will be buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, next to his daughter Laura.