R.I.P. Jim Kulp

Jim Kulp (Photo courtesy of The Telegraph)
Jim Kulp (Photo courtesy of The Telegraph)

Jim Kulp was assistant city editor of The Alton Evening Telegraph when I joined the newspaper’s staff in 1969.

A devout Catholic, Jim once considered becoming a priest but found himself instead a newspaperman — a profession far removed from the priesthood.  Yet his devotion to church and religion was not daunted by life in a newsroom of hard-drinkers and professional cynics.  He also served as the paper’s religion editor.

Jim was a gentle man in a newsroom of boisterous type A personalities. He was slow to rile but his temper, when raised, could be sharp-edged and to the point.

He once told me: “If could ever bring your ego under control, you could be a great newspaperman.” It would take too many years before I understood the accuracy of that observation.

The paper’s management tapped me to step in when longtime city editor Elmer Broz died.  Jim handled the decision without bitterness but offered help and much-needed guidance and I struggled to get up to speed the difficult task of filling Broz’s shoes.  We worked together as the paper went through many changes, including a name change from “The Alton Evening Telegraph” to just “Alton Telegraph.”  Today, the paper is called “The Telegraph.”

I heard from Jim from time to time after leaving The Telegraph.  When he ran across my writings on the Internet in the late 1990s, he sent an email and we corresponded that way for years.

He worked at the paper for half a century and wrote a column until 2010, Jim Kulp died in Godfrey, Illinois on April 8 at 89.  He was a newspaperman from beginning to end. I will miss him.

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