James N. Anagnost

Mon, 02/13/2023 - 1:45pm

On Dec. 9, 2022 James Nicholas Anagnost passed away after a brief illness at the Allendale Senior Living Center in Allendale, New Jersey.

Affectionately known as Jim to friends and Poppa to family, Jim was predeceased by his wife Catharine (2021) and son James Bradley (1983). Immediate surviving family members are daughter Alexandra, her husband James Theriault, and grandchildren Stacy and Spencer of Belgrade, Maine; son Allan and wife Linda of Milford, Pennsylvania, grandchildren Grace Anagnost, Jason Randlett, and great-grandchildren Eleanor and Fiona; and son Robert and friend Kim of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Jim was born in Nashua, New Hampshire on July 4, 1924, to Nicholas and Alexandria Anagnostopolus. His parents were Greek immigrants, and he was one of nine children. He grew up poor, but well loved; learning at an early age that hard work, loyalty to family and appreciation for his adopted country were primary to current and future success.

He graduated from Nashua High School in 1942 and completed his freshman year at Springfield College before being drafted for service in June 1943. For the next 2 ½ years, Jim experienced several life defining moments while serving in the Army’s 23rd Infantry in France, Belgium, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. He was an active participant in the post D-Day invasion and saw heavy and consistent action through France, the Battle of the Bulge and eventual incursion with Patton’s forces into Western Germany. While advancing with his unit, Jim was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor when he rescued a severely wounded comrade under heavy enemy fire. During this same period of activity, he was acknowledged for his bravery and successful implementation of several key actions. For his performance, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and within another month promoted to Master Sergeant at the tender age of 20. During the final weeks of the war and because of his rudimentary proficiency speaking German, he was able to convince a group of 250 Germans to surrender citing several obvious realities. A few days after this event, his sales skills were not so well received as he and a companion walked into a similar group only to have an SS Officer take them prisoner on the spot. He was captive for a little over a week before the small group of Germans yielded to the envelopment of their position. Jim completed his army experience in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia where he oversaw the confinement of several high-level German officers including General Herman Hoth. While Jim experienced much success as young GI, this reality needs to be balanced by the fact that as a young man he witnessed things before the age of 21 no human being ought to experience in any lifetime. Over the years his family witnessed him struggle and thrive with both realities.

After his discharge from service, Jim re-enrolled at Springfield College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and science. Going along with an instinct that his future lay in sales, he worked for Wilson Sporting Goods and LG Balfour from 1948-54. In 1954, Jim began a 35-year career with Shulton Company which was consolidated under American Cyanaimide. With his knowledge, experience, and love of the military, he was promoted to Director of International Government and Military Sales traveling all over the world as part of these responsibilities. Marketing to those dedicated to serving our country was a natural extension of his life experience.

Jim shared his life’s journey with Catharine his wife of 68 years making their home in River Vale, New Jersey where they raised four children. While New Jersey was his primary residence, his annual summer visits to a family home in Ocean Point, Maine were much anticipated, enjoyable and life sustaining events. It was here that Jim developed several close relationships; cultivated a lifelong passion for the game of golf; was a star pitcher at Ocean Point’s Sunday Softball Outings; and doted over family, especially his beloved grandchildren.

For his remarkable service during the war, Jim will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a private ceremony sometime next year.