By Mark Hallum
Bayside lost a prominent figure, when longtime resident Jimmy Volz died April 26 at the age of 48 after battling cancer.
The Press 195 co-owner lived in the neighborhood nearly his whole life, and according to his brother, has accumulated a lifetime of relationships with people who feel they owe a debt of gratitude to Volz in some form or another.
Jimmy Volz was the son of James and Rosemary Volz. He grew up on 213th Street, the oldest of four siblings.
“He’s been a Bayside staple his whole life,” his brother David Volz. “He was just one of those guys that everybody loved. He would bend over backwards and was a very loyal person. I don’t think he had an enemy on earth in 48 years.”
As his family mourns, an outpouring of support and untold stories have surfaced as people who knew Jimmy Volz come forward with their condolences.
“In the last few weeks, I’ve heard countless amounts of stories of him bailing people and giving them a chance,” David Volz said, explaining that the family is supported by a large and tight-knit network of friends from the community. “He was just extremely giving. One of the good guys.”
Jimmy and David Volz, 45, were the older brothers of Elizabeth, 37, and Matthew, 34.
The elder Volz attended St. Robert Bellarmine School in Bayside, where he was two years ahead of his brother, his future business partners and the woman Jimmy would marry, Susan. Jimmy Volz went on to attend Holy Cross High School.
Volz and Susan had two children together, James, now 8, and Olivia, 6.
For a time, Volz worked for a liquor company before Chris Evans and Brian Karp approached him about embarking on a new business venture with them. Evans told the story of how Volz became involved with Press 195 as Evans and Karp looked to moved their enterprise from Brooklyn back to their home neighborhood.
“Jimmy was a person we thought of because he had a good business mind,” Evans said.
The result was Press 195 on Bell Boulevard, which offers a wide range of food menu items, beer selections and has a cafe atmosphere.
“He wasn’t only a partner, he was a very close friend of mine,” Evans said. “He was loved and respected by all in business as well as friendships.”
Karp explained that while he and Evans worked mostly behind the scenes of the business, Volz was at the forefront and the personality associated with the watering hole.
“He gave us a unique view of what was going on, and we’re definitely going to miss that conduit to keeping in touch with our audience,” Karp said.
According to Evans, Volz stayed strong through his diagnosis and illness.
“He fought real hard. He was a battler,” Evans said. “The one thing about Jimmy is that he always thought about everybody else and never questioned why he was battling cancer. He would just always think of everybody else.”
The family is accepting donations for St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Volz’s name.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall