On November 27, 2021, at age 73, following a long journey marked by courage, grace and good humor. Predeceased by his parents, Gordon and Marjorie Present. He is survived by his adoring wife of 43 years, Barbara (“Barby”) Orenstein; devoted and beloved children, Rachel (Dan Schreter) and Matt (Maddy August); cherished grandsons, Avi and Gideon; twin sister, Nancy (Paul) Present-Van Broekhoven; loving nieces, nephews, and friends.
Jim was the kindest and gentlest of men. The fourth generation of a proud line of Rochesterians, his high school years in Brighton were distinguished by athletic feats. A track champion and soccer captain, he once fell during a 200m sprint, got up, and still won. He graduated from Syracuse University, and obtained a Master of Education degree at SUNY Brockport.
Jim was a rare breed—an executive who understood that the bottom line wasn’t the north star. Nevertheless, Jim’s financial acumen was celebrated as President & CEO of Present Company, Inc. By the time he retired to focus on volunteer work and family, Jim had grown the enterprise from two to 34 stores throughout the northeast. Jim gave new meaning to the term mensch. His integrity, moral compass, and commitment to philanthropy never wavered. Jim’s devotion to Israel, where his beloved daughter and her family now reside, was steadfast. He served on the boards of Compeer, Jewish Family Service, and Temple B’rith Kodesh. He taught for two years at School #29, where he forbade his students to walk in a straight line. Jim loved teaching ESL at the JCC’s Bubbe and Zayde Tech, where his gift for malapropisms was legendary. With Jim’s enthusiasm, holidays and Shabbat dinners grew to include several Friendship Families—emigrees from the former Soviet Union whom Jim championed fiercely. From the Buffalo Bills onward, Jim never met an underdog he didn’t root for. Jim’s family and community will be beneficiaries of his kindness for generations to come.
A special thank you to Drs. Daniel Mendelson and Ahmed Ghazi, Caroline from URMC Hospice, and Caring Hearts Agency. We are grateful to Therese Mangold, Ruth Popik, and Solo Pylyuk for their dedication to Jim and his family.
Funeral services will be held on MONDAY November 29, 2021, at 1:00 PM at Temple B’rith Kodesh (2131 Elmwood Avenue). CLICK HEREfor a map to Temple. All attendees must be both vaccinated and masked.
The service will be made accessible virtually. To livestream the service, please CLICK HERE.
Interment to follow at Mt. Hope Cemetery.
A period of mourning will be observed at 3940 East Avenue on Monday from 7 – 9 PM (CLICK HERE for a map to Shiva) and at Irondequoit Country Club (4045 East Avenue) on Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-3 PM and 7-9 PM (CLICK HERE for a map to Irondequoit Country Club).
In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester (CLICK HERE to donate online),Israel Cancer Research Fund(CLICK HERE to donate online) or Temple B’rith Kodesh(CLICK HERE to donate online) in Jim’s memory.