Peter Pohly

Peter Pohly died on July 6, 2022 from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 84. Peter was born on June 16, 1938 to the late Rosalyn Greenebaum Pohly and Nathan Hessberg Pohly, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He attended The Riverdale School in New York and later graduated with a BA from Yale University, class of 1959. At Yale, Peter was a noted member of the fencing team. He remained a proud and active alumnus during his whole life. Peter served as President of Beekman Paper Company on Varick Street for forty years. After retirement, Peter volunteered with The International Executive Service Corps (IESC), helping to set up small and medium sized businesses in underserved areas of Central Asia, including parts of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. He also traveled this area for pleasure, making an adventurous camping trip in Turkmenistan, and visiting Nagorno-Karabakh, at a time when few Americans were going there. After this chapter of his work and travel, Peter retired to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where he lived, enthusiastically soaking up all that New York City has to offer.

Ever a student, Peter found endless ways to continue his life-long education. He frequented lectures, readings and films at Columbia University, The Yale Club, The Anthology Film Archives and countless other venues. He was a voracious reader and his knowledge of world history and politics was extensive and ever-expanding. Peter was also endlessly curious about scientific and technological advances; his mind was never at rest. Through his life he traveled the world and studied Italian, Russian and Chinese. He was inspired by anything and everything new to him, and he loved to share what he was learning with others. He was truly a student of life, and his mind was an impressive vault of facts, ideas and opinions that few could keep up with. Peter had a life-long love affair with all things jazz, as well as an enormous appetite for hearing new music. He was engrained in New York’s jazz, classical and avant-garde music scenes and he paid great attention to new composers. He was exceedingly open-minded, wanting to hear all that could be heard. Whether or not he ‘liked it’ was beside the point to him: he viewed artists venturing into new territory as a genuine hope for the future. On a nightly basis he was out exploring every nook and cranny of the city to find these new sounds and expressions. On many occasions he opened his own apartment as rehearsal space for musicians from Continuum, Momenta Quartet and various Julliard festivals. He even commissioned a work by Israeli composer Hana Ajiashvili. His dedication to music was not limited to New York City; indeed, he adventured as far as Mongolia, Odessa and Azerbaijan to attend festivals.

Peter was a bright spirit with a brilliant and artistic soul. His approach to life was wholesome, rooted in loyalty and open-mindedness, and fueled by compassion and personal growth. He lived with a youthful wonder and a fantastic, quirky sense of humor. He found laughter and joy in the obscure and uncanny. He appreciated the remarkable as much as the mundane; got a kick out of the big picture as much as the minutia. He touched the lives of folks from all backgrounds, making profound and lasting friendships wherever he went. Notably, his college friends remained some of his closest by the end of his life, some six decades later. Though he traveled the world, though he had dear friends in many countries and could reminisce on wild, international adventures, when asked what his favorite destination of all was, his reply would be “Well, I’m a New Yorker.” Peter is survived by his three children, Nathaniel Pohly, Jessica Pohly and Julie Zangle; and his former wife, Hallie Rosenbloom. He currently has two grandchildren. Donations in his memory may be made to Partners Foundation at: