Veteran Realtor and Association Executive James G. Houlihan Passes Away at the Age of 95

Real Estate In-Depth | March 2019

James G. Houlihan served as the president of the Bronx Board of Realtors in 1960 and the New York State Association of Realtors in 1964.

James G. Houlihan, a real estate industry veteran of 69 years, who served as president of the Bronx Board of Realtors and the New York State Association of Realtors, passed away at the age of 95 on March 2.

Houlihan, a longtime resident of Bronxville, NY and Palm Beach, FL, started his first job in the real estate business in 1948 with Leonard Beck, advisor to the Rockefeller and Astor families. During that time, he met Mary Murray (May), studying for her Master’s Degree in Social Service at Fordham University. 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, he 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. He also served as Chairman of the prestigious Finance Committee of the Real Estate Board of New York and was a past member of what is now the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

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.

Founded in 1891 and operated by the fourth and fifth generations of the Houlihan family, the company is headquartered in White Plains. The firm is engaged in acquisition, property and construction management, consulting services, leasing and mortgage brokerage for all commercial real estate asset classes, both for the company’s portfolio and for third parties. The privately-held commercial real estate investment and management firm has a presence in 18 states across the United States and an aggregate gross asset value of more than $2.5 billion.

James G. Houlihan was born in Manhattan in 1923, 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. He 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 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 1943 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.

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 in a row 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, 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 18 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, Elizabeth MacRae, and nine great grandchildren, Kieran, Maggie and Grace Salvatierra, Molly and Josie Flanagan, James, Charles and Frederick Buckley and Shea McEvoy.

A wake is scheduled for Thursday, March 7 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Fred H. McGrath’s Funeral Home, 20 Cedar St., Bronxville, NY 10708. The funeral mass will be held on Friday, March 8 at 10:45 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, 15 Cedar St., Bronxville, NY 10708.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the Phyllis F Albstein Fund for Brain Science at Johns Hopkins University. Individuals can make gifts online at the website: https://krieger.jhu.edu/giving/give-now/