James “Jay” Pullman

Hornell, NY / Arkport, NY

James “Jay” Pullman, Jr. – 80 – of 6 Brush St., Arkport, formerly of Hornell, died unexpectedly at home on Sunday, September 3, 2023.

Born in Brooklyn, NY on August 2, 1943, he was the oldest of seven children born to Dr. James & Johanna (Blaas) Pullman.

Jay grew up in Hornell and was a graduate of Hornell High School (Class of 1961). He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and later earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

He resided in Newfield, NY for many years and was employed as an English Teacher at Ithaca High School for over 35 years, retiring in 1999. Following his retirement, Jay moved to Bay St. Louis, MS where he resided for a short time. After losing his home there to Hurricane Katrina, he moved back to the Hornell/Arkport area where he met his wife, Terry in 2005.

After moving to Arkport, he was finally able to devote time to his passion of oil painting. Jay studied art in many locations throughout the world, including France, Spain, Mexico, Italy, Tennessee and New Hampshire. In recent years, his home has become an art gallery with countless paintings on the walls. Jay has created and sold thousands of paintings for people throughout the country.

Jay had a deep appreciation of music and was a gifted guitar player. In his younger days he was a member of a band, playing in the Ithaca area. He enjoyed going to concerts and also visiting coffee houses.

He was a member of the St. James Property Board and also served as Vice President of the Bethesda Foundation.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. James & Johanna Pullman; and by his former wife, Patricia “Pat” Schu Pullman.

Jay was married on March 11, 2006 to the former Theresa “Terry” Guenther who survives. Also surviving are his daughter, Amy (Steven) Galiotti of Spencerport, NY; his son, James (Eydie) Pullman of New Albany, MS; 3 step-daughters, Elsa (Michael) Geraci of Rochester, Kristen (Justin) Hammond of Nashville, TN and Katie (Max) Houy of Arkport; 3 brothers, Joseph “Joe” (Ellen Ketchum) Pullman of Truxton, NY, John (Sue) Pullman of Cardwell, MT and William “Bill” (Tamara) Pullman of Los Angeles, CA; 3 sisters, Helena (Paul) Bunker of Sinking Spring, PA, Linda Pullman of Wellsville and Johanna (David) Jaffer of San Jose, CA; 8 grandchildren; several nieces & nephews.

At Jay’s request there will be no calling hours. Family & friends are invited to a “Celebration of Life” on Thursday (September 14, 2023) from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM at The Main Place, 251 Main St., Hornell, NY where stories of Jay’s life can be shared by all. Final interment will be in Heritage Hill Cemetery, Arkport, NY.

Funeral arrangements are in care of the Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell, NY.

Jay’s family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name be made to the Arkport Public Library, PO Box 1028, Arkport, NY 14807.

To leave an online condolence or share a memory, visit www.dagonfuneralhome.com.

25 Responses to “James “Jay” Pullman”

  1. Pete Gath says:

    Good thoughts and Prayers are with you Terry and that wonderful Pullman family I grew up next to on Adsit Place in the 50’s. God Bless !

  2. Nancy Geraci says:

    To the Family of James Pullman,
    I would like to send my deepest Condolences on your Loss.
    Jay was a Wonderful Person and will be missed by All.
    God Bless to his Family and Friends💙🙏😇

  3. Kathy Zahler says:

    Jay (Mr. Pullman to me) was my tenth grade English teacher in 1970, toward the start of his career, and his kindness toward all of his students, including the most troubled, was something I have always remembered. A lovely man; my condolences to the whole family.

  4. Tami Tabone (Pluck) says:

    Mr. Pullman was my 11th grade English teacher. He was one of my favorites. His encouragement in writing helped lead me to become a published author. I am so sorry and sad. He will definitely be remembered for the work he did and so many other gifts he gave to the world.

  5. Elliot Regenstein says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Pullman’s passing. I posted the following on my Facebook page:

    I was fortunate in my childhood to have some truly outstanding teachers. One of my favorites was my AP English teacher, Mr. Pullman — not because I did well in his class (I had to fight like hell to scrape by with a low B), but because he had high standards and held me to them. Indeed, on the first assignment I turned in he wrote, “It does not appear that you put your best effort into this paper;” he was right, and that never happened again. And just last week I was telling someone about a marginal comment he made on one of my papers that to this day influences my style choices. But of course, what I really appreciated about Mr. Pullman wasn’t his red ink on my work, but the way he engaged his students and taught the class; he truly cared about us, and we learned a lot from him. When I asked him to write a college recommendation for me, he smiled and said, “I can picture you there” — what a kind thing to say to a high school kid processing any number of emotions and insecurities. Mr. Pullman passed away this weekend, and I am sure I am just one of many Ithaca High alums mourning his loss. I hope his family and loved ones know how much we appreciated him; he was a treasure.

  6. Christine Leyden says:

    Terry, girls and to all Jay’s family,
    So terribly sorry to hear of his passing.
    Jay always had a smile on his face whenever I saw him and I know he will be remembered for the great person that he was.
    Sending all our love and support during this terribly difficult time.
    Love,
    Christine & Casey

  7. Brenda Moraczewski Sparks says:

    I’m saddened to hear of Mr. Pullmans passing. I often wonder where he was or what he was doing. He was my special Ed English teacher and was so kind and patient. He was a wonderful teacher and will be missed.

  8. Richard McIntosh says:

    Terry and Family,

    My deepest sympathies in this hour of need for your loss.

    Jay was a friend, teammate,classmate and gentleman of the very highest order!

    He was the guy for whom everyone had the highest regard!!!

    May God hold him in the Palm of his Hand until we all meet again!

    Richard “Mickey” McIntosh

  9. Beth Lattone says:

    He was an amazing teacher. Had him in 1993. Thanks for everything, Mr Pullman. You are remembered.

  10. Nathanael Nerode says:

    I remember his English class in 1993-1994 was the best I had in all of my schooling. He was always fascinating to talk to. He touched many lives.

    I also remember that he literally wore rose-colored glasses some of the time. I don’t know where he got them, but it was a visual joke which I appreciated.

  11. Melinda Gerber says:

    There is another bright star in the celestial sphere.
    I’m sure Mr. Pullman will be painting us magnificent imaginaries of the Heaven.
    Look to the skies . He has been exalted to the arms of the Lord.

    My condolences to his beautiful wife Terry, and to his family.

  12. Deborah Perry says:

    I am very sorry to hear of Jay’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with Terry and all of the family.

  13. Leigh McDonald says:

    Another former student here, IHS AP English 1996-7. I just wanted to say that Mr. Pullman was one of my most memorable and influential teachers, and definitely helped set me on the path to my lifelong career in books. As others have described, his class was not easy, but he made us want to try harder and think more deeply, and his feedback on our work was always full of such insightful guidance. Most of my teachers are pretty hazy memories now, but I have never forgotten him and never will.

    Deepest condolences to his friends and family on your loss. He was a special person, and will be fondly remembered by so many.

  14. Amy Lewis says:

    Mr. Pullman was one of my very favorite teachers and I think he also taught my brother and sister! Sending prayers to the family. May his memory be for a blessing.

  15. Jake Nash says:

    Freshman year is always hard for students. We try to figure out who we are and what the world is, and it’s broad and exciting and terrifying all at once. I had the opportunity to have Mr. Pullman as a 97-98 freshman in the combined english/history program, and he was the one that showed me that behind every fact I was learning was a dream. Behind every date there was a perspective, a voice that had to be heard and understood to comprehend the majesty of the whole thing. It was such a simple lesson but it has stayed with me to this day, and I am forever grateful for it.

  16. Sherry Weaver says:

    Thoughts and prayers for you Terry and family. So sorry to hear of Jay’s passing. May he (RIP) in a place doing what he loves to do.

  17. Denice Peter Karamardian says:

    Hands down, my favorite high school teacher was Mr. Pullman.
    The one who continued to shine brightly in my memories for decades after.
    I especially loved running into him and Pat in Ithaca in later years and his gentle smile would remind how engaging his classes were compared to the rest and safe it always felt to follow inspiration in his space. I am so happy to learn he found joy and love a second time. He is missed.

  18. Marta Kinne says:

    My sincerest sympathy to the family and friends of Jay. May God comfort you in your sorrow.

  19. Frank O'Connor says:

    Jamie was a kind of hero to me as I grew up around the corner from the Pullman’s on Bostwick Place in the mid 1950s. Dr. Pullman was my family doctor and for a brief time he and Mrs
    Pullman were like my second parents as I was at their house almost every day. Although Joe was my friend, Jamie stood out as someone to look up to, even into high school some ten years later.I was pleased to learn that later in life he was devoted to his art. I had been meaning to visit him in Arkport when in the neighborhood, to say hello and to see his work. Needless to say, time slipped by. To all the Pullman family, my sincerest condolences. He will be missed

  20. Sarah Wolff says:

    I was an ornery adolescent and his indefatigable sunshine 1st period challenged me existentially! How sweet to see this photo of him, that smile, that radiance. What a kind and patient teacher he was, present and he called us, his students, to be present. I’m grateful for his influence on me and so many young people. May his memory be a blessing.

  21. Chd Jacobson says:

    Like may who have posted here I was another of Mr. Pullman’s many students at Ithaca High School and I have fond memories of his calm but very engaged style of teaching. A true gentleman. My sincere condolences to his entire family.

  22. Ginna Blaisdell McCormick says:

    I, like many of my classmates did not have Me Pullman as a teacher. I was a graduate of the class in 1983. A year later I began working for Ithaca City School District… the following year I was the secretary for the English Department. I was fortunate to be Jim’s colleague. In this capacity, I grew to know Jim as a friend. He was kind, respectful and always grateful. He once was learning about iron and making thing from it. He gave me a leaf he had made. I still, to this day hold it special and it remains in my jewelry box. I am truly saddened to hear of his passing and wish his family and friends my sincerest condolences. May his love, passion, kindness along with your memories guide you through this difficult time. Blessed be and rest in peace my friend.

  23. Karen Piccirillo Kelly says:

    To the Pullman family,

    Our family knew all the Pullman’s well. We send our love and support to the Pullman family. My sister and I knew John and Bill well as we were in the same graduation classes in 1968 and 1971. Linda swam with Helena
    We used the Pullman station wagon to drive to AAU swim competitions in Orchard Park, NY. Dr Pullman delivered Linda. Condolences to the Pullman family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!!! Hugs to all.

    Karen Piccirillo Kelly
    Linda Piccirillo Hinckley.

  24. Alison Mastroe says:

    Easily one of the kindest and brightest human beings I’ve met. Thank you for going to the Rosamond Gifford Library lecture series in Syracuse, NY. I loved our book chats, exchange of poetry writings and your appreciation of my community plays. A gentle soul, a stellar teacher, a wonderful friend and our family loved you. Our sincerest condolences to your lovely wife, your family of origin and your children.

  25. Esy Casey says:

    Mr Pullman was one of the most influential teachers I’ve ever had. His lessons have permitted me a life rich in appreciation of the world, and have helped me to survive in it.

    He was encouraging about an experimental piece I wrote about the loss of a friend, and said I should use it as a college applications essay. I didn’t get in, and ended up spending the year in Mexico where I met my filmmaking partner, which turned my path towards the films I’m still making. I’ve been fortunate to get grants for them because of what he taught me about writing; he didn’t tell me how to write, but showed me how to observe the world, and write from where I was. As a teenager, that kind of equality and respect from a teacher was invaluable. Writing became a way to clarify, to work through sadness, anger, and other feelings with few outlets in society.

    The morning I found out he passed was the morning I got into an esteemed film festival with a piece where I’d finally integrated my own writing. I was in Brooklyn, meeting up with a writer friend from high school who had also had him. We cried on a streetcorner, grateful for all he gave us, and feeling the loss of him in the world. My deepest condolences to his family and many friends…what an incredible and generous person and artist he was, and how lucky we are to have known him.