James R. Goldfarb ’68 died on July 7, 2019, in New York, New York.
(The following was published in The New York Times on July 10, 2019:)
Jim Golfarb, loving and devoted father to Abby and Jesse, and grandfather to Leo, all of whom will carry on his legacy of kindness, integrity, and decency in his treatment of others; committed partner to Kathryn Barnier; brother of Bob Goldfarb and Jane Goldberg. Graduate of Bowdoin College and NYU Law School, he dedicated his education, brilliant mind, and commitment to social justice to defend people who had no resources and no recourse without him. Embracing a life of humanitarian ideals over material pursuits, Jim began his career at the Criminal Defense Division of the New York City Legal Aid Society in 1972. He then became legal counsel to a methadone maintenance program, before starting his own practice. Jim’s style of lawyering was simply to be exactly who he was—he could be nothing other than that. His absolute sincerity and authenticity won the trust and respect of judges and jurors alike, much to the benefit of so many of his clients. Tenacious tennis player. Avid reader. Brimming with knowledge of classic films and numerous other subjects, he’d happily discuss them with charm, insight, and his idiosyncratic point of view. Witty and offbeat, he was a man who danced to his own tune, one often inflected with his beloved Delta blues and the folk and rock it inspired. A lifelong learner, he followed his passions and continued his studies as an adult in American studies, concentrating on African-American history at Columbia University. Hugely devoted to the St. Louis Cardinals, Jim enjoyed following baseball with his family and friends, going on annual Spring Training and road-trip vacations. Jim began running around the reservoir in Central Park in 1975 before most people ventured anywhere near it, then upped his game to run four New York City Marathons, further displaying his determination, endurance, and never-say-die attitude. He fought Parkinson’s disease and a recent diagnosis of cancer with dignity, optimism, and spirit, refusing to let his limited physical capacities limit his participation in and appreciation of life. He was always grateful for what he had. Most important of all were his close relationships with family and friends. An anonymous philanthropist, he generously supported causes to help the helpless and expand opportunities to people who have few. He died peacefully at his home in Manhattan on Sunday evening, July 7, 2019.