Obituary: Jonathan Greenfield

Jonathan Greenfield, 50, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 13, at his home in Westport, surrounded by his family and close friends. Jonathan was born on January 4, 1971 in Philadelphia to Carol and Hyman Greenfield, and he grew up in Cherry Hill. 

After dropping out of NYU, Jonathan spent his early career as a photojournalist, traveling the globe in search of compelling stories. His work was published in The New York Times. He then received his masters at the elite Kunsthochschule fuer Medien in Koeln, Germany and went on to produce and direct international documentaries and short fiction films for German networks on subjects like drug addiction, the homeless and German Jews serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. On an extended trip to New York City in 2007, he met Iris Greenfield and began a whirlwind romance which led to a marriage and the birth of three children. The family made a gradual migration out of New York, eventually settling in Westport, Conn. 

Always searching for the next adventure, Jonathan embarked on a new career as a purveyor of imported teas. Wanderlust and an endless sense of wonder characterized Jonathan’s life. His athletic pursuits included surfing, swimming, hiking and cycling. Taking his kids to their music and swim lessons, skateboarding with them and bringing them on adventures brought him endless joy. He was adamant about supporting environmental causes and plant-based diets. In recent years, he discovered a new challenge in the Wim Hof breathing method. Through breathing, cold therapy and commitment, he trained himself to control his body for optimal focus and health, and he could sit in a bath of freezing water for up to two minutes and emerge invigorated. During this period Jonathan completed his first Triathlon.

Then in late 2018, Jonathan received a devastating diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). While he could still walk with assistance, Jonathan embarked on a trek through the Pyrenees Mountains with Wim Hof himself. That same year he and Iris founded Breathe 4 ALS, a 501c-3 non-profit committed to funding ALS research and workshops to help ALS patients’ breath stronger and longer.

Jonathan was preceded in death by his father Hyman, and his brother Seth. He is survived by his wife Iris, his children, Zach, Skye and Josie, his sister, Ashley and his niece Sydney and nephews Dylan and Hunter.

Jonathan’s family would like to express a deep appreciation to the Westport and Cherry Hill communities for their out-pouring of support and endless love and to Zenia Gordon for her loving care of Jonathan and Chris Curtain of Compassionate Care ALS (CCALS) for his unwavering support and advocacy for Jonathan’s during his final days.

A graveside service was held on Tuesday, June 15 at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport. In lieu of memorial donations, the family requests that donations be made to The Greenfield’s foundation, www.breathe4als.org.

If you have a story to share about Jonathan, please post your tribute in the comments.

Arrangements were under the direction of Sholom Chapel, Stamford. To send condolences to the family, please visit www.sholomchapel.com