By the Family
Mar. 6, 2019: James G. Houlihan, a longtime resident of Bronxville and Palm Beach, Florida, passed away on March 2, 2019, at the age of 95.
James G. Houlihan was born in Manhattan in 1923 and was the only child of James A. Houlihan and Genevieve McConnell Houlihan. His grandfather, Dan Houlihan, came from County Kerry, Ireland, at age 19 in 1874 to Scranton, PA, becoming a laborer in construction. Dan married Margaret Lynch Houlihan and their family grew to include nine children. Dan and his family moved to Manhattan and started what was to become a very successful real estate business that survives to today.
As a young child, Jim would answer the phone for his father, taking detailed messages concerning various property management jobs, and began learning that aspect of the real estate business.
Jim was raised in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. He graduated from Our Lady of Angels Grammar School in 1937 and All Hallows High School in 1941.
When the United States entered World War II, Jim was a happy freshman playing basketball at Manhattan College. On March 30, 1943, Jim was sworn into the US Army, and by October of 1943, he was in the New Guinea equatorial jungle serving in the Signal Corp under General Douglas MacArthur’s overall command. He served also in the Day One invasions of Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines and was part of the advanced troops that freed the American prisoners at Manila College. He then served in Okinawa and in Korea after the Japanese surrender. He left Korea on November 5, 1945, his 22nd birthday, returning home one week before Christmas.
He graduated from Manhattan College in 1947 and received his master’s degree in real estate in 1948 from Columbia University School of Business. He was in the first group of students to obtain their MBA in urban land economics. His thesis, “A Real Estate History of Fordham Road,” is on file at the Bronx County Historical Society.
Jim started his first job in the real estate business in 1948 with Leonard Beck, advisor to the Rockefeller and Astor families. During this time, he met Mary Murray (May), who was studying for her master’s degree in social service at Fordham University. When it was established that she was just as smart as Jim, they married in 1951 and raised a family of six children.
He joined his family’s real estate business in 1955 and was a partner from 1960 to 2017 in Houlihan-Parnes Realtors, LLC. In 1960, Jim was elected president of the Bronx Board of Realtors. In 1964, at age 41, he was elected president of the New York State Association of Realtors, and in 1966, he was elected regional vice president of the National Association of Realtors. Jim also served as chairman of the prestigious finance committee of the Real Estate Board of New York.
On March 17, 1967, Jim and his cousin Dan merged their business with Howard Parnes, a successful broker and real estate investor, and Houlihan-Parnes Realtors, LLC, was created.
In 2004, Jim published a book called A Hitch in Hell: An Account of My U.S. Army Service in World War II.
Jim never lost his enthusiasm for sports. He took up golf in his late 30s and won occasional tournaments at Leewood and Siwanoy Country Clubs. At the New York Real Estate Board Finance Committee tournament, he won the tournament three consecutive years on two separate occasions within a seven-year period, twice retiring the trophy.
Jim was a Knight in the Order of Malta and a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and Old Guard of Palm Beach Golfers, as well as being active in many other Catholic and philanthropic endeavors.
Surviving Jim are his children, James J. Houlihan (Patricia), John G. Houlihan (Judy), William A. Houlihan (Claire), Mary H. Coleman (James), Thomas P. Houlihan (Genevieve), and Patricia MacRae (David). Also surviving are his eighteen grandchildren, Christie Houlihan, Michael McEvoy, Kelly Houlihan Buckley, Meghan McEvoy, Bryan Houlihan, Erin Houlihan Flanagan, Kerry Houlihan Salvatierra, Siobhan Houlihan, Katharine Houlihan, Ellen Houlihan, Terence Houlihan, Mary Houlihan, Caitlin Coleman, Kara Coleman, Kevin Coleman, Emily Houlihan, Timothy MacRae, and Elizabeth MacRae, and nine great-grandchildren, Kieran, Maggie, and Grace Salvatierra, Molly and Josie Flanagan, James, Charles, and Frederick Buckley, and Shea McEvoy.