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In Memoriam: Access Industry Pioneer Jim Corley | Construction News

In Memoriam: Access Industry Pioneer Jim Corley | Construction News

Lift and Access has learned that Jim Corley, owner and president of the former aerial lift supplier American Service Co., has passed away.

James Martin Corley was born in New York City in 1939 and graduated from Villanova University in 1961. While at Villanova, Jim met his wife Mary Ann Judd Corley whom he was married to for 51 years.  After graduating from college, he enlisted in the Coast Guard.

Shortly after his discharge, Jim was hired by TWA in 1967 and had a flying career of 33 years, ending in the rank of captain. He was one of the volunteer crew that brought back the hijacked TWA Flight 847 from Beirut in 1985.

Jim was also the owner and president of American Service Co., an aerial lift supplier in Piscataway, N.J. His father, Joseph, started a Ballymore ladder business, which Jim took over in 1968. American Service Co. was one of the first in the nation to be a full-line access supplier. It represented Snorkel, Economy, Skyjack, and JLG, and the company eventually expanded from New Jersey into Pennsylvania and Connecticut. American Service was sold to Access Rentals in 1997, which subsequently became part of United Rentals.

Steve Banester, New England strategic account manager for United Rentals, was a long-time friend and business associate of Corley. “Being a Pilot gave Jim a unique advantage in the aerial industry” Banester said. “If he heard of a new machine introduction from California to fill a niche or an operational trend a particular distributor was having success with in Arizona, Jim would fly to the location, introduce himself, and see how things worked for himself, and [determine] whether or not the time was right to introduce this into his business.”

Banester said that while Jim was using piloting and his “boundless energy” to stay ahead of the curve, he became a master networker among the top national high-reach players of the day.” “He enjoyed a personal relationship with most of the true movers and shakers who built the high-reach industry from its inception through the 1980s into the 1990s,” Banester added.

Jim lost his long fought battle with pulmonary fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease, and bladder cancer on Nov.17, 2014.  After his first diagnosis in 2004, he was given six months to live.  In typical tenacious fashion, he beat the odds and lived another 10 years. He is survived by his wife Mary Ann, his daughter Susan Corley Proulx and husband Art, son James Judd Corley and wife Michelle, and son Scott Joseph Corley and wife Sheila.  Eight grandchildren also survive him.

The first memorial service will be held at Spruce Creek Country Club in Port Orange, Florida at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23. The second will be held on Sat., Dec. 20 in New Jersey.  There will be a mass at Immaculate Conception Parish on Mountain Avenue in Somerville, N.J., followed by a celebration of life a Raritan Valley Country Club.  


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