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James "Jim" Pianta '51 November 18, 2022 1:58 PM updated: November 18, 2022 2:41 PM

James Eugene Pianta

February 9, 1929 - November 4, 2022

James was known as "Jim" or "Jimmy" to his friends and family.

He was born in San Antonio, Texas to Ruth Turner and Eugene Pianta. Scouting was of special interest to him during his youth and he achieved Eagle Scout rank. He attended Jefferson High School in San Antonio, and after graduating he successfully pursued an engineering degree from Texas A&M College where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets as well as a yell leader.

After graduating Texas A&M, he roughnecked on the Humble oil rigs prior to enlisting in the US Army's Infantry division so that he could be "where the action is". He loved his country and was proud to serve it. He met his first wife, Helen Mary Sabo while at Camp Roberts Army Base in California. His subsequent work with Esso took him from the west Texas oil fields to Harvard University, where he earned an MBA, and then back to Texas. During this time, his family grew to five children before the family relocated to Connecticut in the early 60's, then overseas to Australia, where he opened the Bass Strait oil and gas production for Esso, and then on to Libya.

After returning to New York, he met his second wife, Marie Pohls. He finished his career with Exxon in London, consulting, in collaboration with their partner Royal Dutch Shell, on production of natural gas in Germany by that country's largest energy producing company BEB. After retiring in 1986, Jim and Marie returned to his beloved hometown of San Antonio while spending the summer months at their beach house on Fire Island, New York where he greatly enjoyed the camaraderie of their fellow volunteers at the Davis Park firehouse.

Jim shared his sense of adventure, his "can do" attitude, his optimism, his warm and welcoming smile, and his knowledge of and keen interest in the arts, architecture, and other cultures with his family and friends throughout his life. Whether he was learning to ski and yodel in the Austrian alps, volunteering as a Boy Scout leader, making up limericks or knock-knock jokes, or working with the Davis Park Volunteer Fire Department, he maintained his sense of humor and gave his full effort. He loved life dearly, greatly appreciated everyone, and was always more than willing to drive everyone around everywhere in order to share the beauty and his knowledge of wherever they happened to be.

James was preceded in death by his son James Samuel Adams Pianta.

James leaves to cherish his memory, his wife Marie Pohls; his former wife Helen and their daughters; Judi Pianta, Barbara Briguglio, Elizabeth Pianta, and Amy Pianta; two sons-in-law: Guiseppe Briguglio and Terence Wooten; four grandchildren: Sara, Andrea, Chance and Emma; and a host of great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, and extended family.

In accordance with Jim's wishes there will be no funeral services.

A private gathering will be held to celebrate his wonderful life.


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