James Michael Podhaisky – obituary
James Michael (Jim) Podhaisky, of Glendale, CA and formerly of Alliance, NE passed away unexpectedly on January 26, 2011. Jim was en route to London on a business trip for his employer, The Walt Disney Company, and apparently passed away in his sleep on the trans-Atlantic flight. The actual cause of death is still being determined. He was 48 years old.
Jim was born in Alliance, Nebraska on February 13, 1962, the sixth of eight children, to Tom and Roxie Podhaisky. In 1980 he graduated from Alliance High School, where he was active in music and theater. He attended Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado, where he earned his fine arts degree in 1984. After graduation, he continued to perform, both as an actor and as a comedian, and worked for a time at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
After moving to California, Jim worked as an actor and as a professional artist. He was hired by the Disney Company in 1996 as a Creative Manager. At the time of his passing, he was Vice President Creative, Global Stationery, in the Disney Consumer Products Division.
Jim is remembered by family and all his many friends along the way as a loving, funny, generous man who enjoyed laughing and making people happy. He also had a very serious, pondering, and spiritual side and reflected pure goodness to all those he met. Those closest to Jim will also always treasure his special affinity for squirrels.
Jim is survived by his fiancée Joanna Pongowska, originally from Warsaw, Poland (where they met), and most recently of Glendale, California; his mother Roxie Podhaisky of Henderson, Nevada; siblings Nancy Podhaisky (Alex) Ariniello of Boulder, Colorado; Chuck Podhaisky of Henderson, Nevada; Mary Podhaisky (Ed) Gillin of Livonia, New York; Julie Podhaisky (Pat) Kelly of North Richland Hills, Texas; Sister Patty Podhaisky, OSF, of Denver, Colorado; Dr. Gary (Jodi) Podhaisky of Richland, Washington; John Podhaisky of Henderson, Nevada; Aunt Pat Podhaisky Della Croce of San Mateo, California; many, many devoted and devastated nieces, nephews, great-nieces, cousins, and friends.
A memorial service is planned for Friday, February 4, at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, February 5, at St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church in La Canada Flintridge, CA. Arrangements are being handled by Cabot and Sons Funeral Directors in Pasadena, CA.
If anyone wishes to send a memorial, the family believes Jim would have loved to see donations made to the charitable organization of choice or to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) in honor of Jim’s dad Tom Podhaisky.
Please visit cabotandsonsfh.com for online guest book submissions