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James E. Galton '46

The Amazing, Incredible and Fantastic! James E. Galton, who was widely credited with saving Marvel Comics from bankruptcy in the 1970s, died with the same grace and dignity he exhibited throughout his long and fruitful life, on June 12, 2017 at his home In Naples, FL, surrounded by his loving family.

Jim was born in Lawrence, New York on November 1, 1924 to Margaret (Weiskopf) and Monte Goldstein. He graduated from Antioch College in 1946, obtained a CPA and worked as an auditor at Main & Co. In 1950 he became treasurer of Cortes & Enloe Advertising and then, in 1954, held the same position at Popular Library (Pines Publications), where he became president in 1968.

In 1974 he moved to Marvel Entertainment Group as president and CEO where, through astute marketing strategies- including encouraging the growth of comic book collectors retail stores - and shrewd licensing deals like acquiring the comic book rights for Star Wars and GI Joe, he saved the company.

He started an animation studio in California and used movie, television foreign language publication and merchandise exposure for Marvel characters to boost them into internationally recognized icons. He maintained that comic books were a legitimate form of literary expression that deserved respect and he used the medium to bolster social change like energy conservation, civil and women's rights, child abuse prevention and universal literacy.

He retired in 1991 but remained a consultant for Foreign Publishing until 1998. Jim championed women executives and encouraged his wife and his daughters, as well as his son, to pursue rewarding entrepreneurial endeavors.

Jim served on the board of Literacy Volunteers of New York for many years, and upon retiring to Naples he became active as a teacher and board member of Literacy Volunteers of Collier County.  

He received many awards and accolades over the course of his lifetime for his civic activism and work on literacy. He also volunteered at Habitat for Humanity in Collier County.

Jim shared with his wife Lydia an appreciation of travel, admiration of architecture, a passion for books, and a fondness for piano bars, as well as love for and pride in their children. They enjoyed restoring their Chelsea brownstone and later their Gramercy Park duplex that they bought so that Jim could live his dream of finally being able to walk to work.

They had many friends in Sherman, CT, where they maintained a weekend retreat for over thirty years. He was a member of the Friar's Club, the Player's Club, the National Arts Club and Quaker Hill Country Club in Pawling, New York.

He is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Lydia (nee Ryan); his daughters Beth Galton and her husband Fred Phelps of New York City; Jean Galton and her husband Ron Pellegrino of Seattle; Maggie Galton and her husband Andrei Nicolayevsky of Mexico City; and his son Edward Galton and his wife Sarah of London, England. He delighted in his grandchildren Ben Phelps, Nora and Claire Pellegrino, and Sofia, Katya and Nadia Nicolayevsky, and was grateful for the affection and support of his nephew Peter Norden and his wife Rhonda, their daughters Leslie and Maggie and his great niece Jody Walker and her husband, Kyle Smith. His sister, Ellinor Norden, and his niece, Peggy Walker, predeceased him.

The family wants to acknowledge and thank Marina Rodriguez and Marie Saintus for the great care and kindness they lavished on Jim in his last years. Memorial contributions may be made in Jim's name to Naples Botanical Garden and Literacy Volunteers of Collier County. A private memorial will be held at a later date.