James R. Culligan, a lifelong resident of Monticello, New York, passed away peacefully at home on December 28, 2022. Jim was born on December 4,1931, the second son of Norman M. Culligan and Laura A. …
James R. Culligan, a lifelong resident of Monticello, New York, passed away peacefully at home on December 28, 2022. Jim was born on December 4,1931, the second son of Norman M. Culligan and Laura A. (Lynn) Culligan.
Jim graduated from Monticello High School in 1949, where he earned 14 varsity letters in basketball (3), baseball (4), track (3) and soccer (4). The faculty and students at Monti High elected Jim General Organization President in his senior year and he was named the Sullivan County Elks Sportsman/Athlete of the Year. In 1950, Jim played on the Monticello High School State Champion baseball team as a postgraduate.
Jim volunteered to serve in the United States Army during the Korean War era and was stationed in Austria as a communications specialist with the 350th Infantry Division, Headquarters Company. His older brother Norm was assigned to the same unit and together they participated in many athletic activities, including a basketball team coached by Hall of Fame Coach Branch McCracken, who twice coached Indiana University to the National collegiate basketball championship. Jim always fondly remembered the opportunity he had during his stint in the Army to play against Meadowlark Lemon of the Harlem Globe Trotters. In 1952-54, he played regimental baseball and basketball as a member of the United States Forces in Austria.
Jim married his high school sweetheart Ann A. Hulse on April18,1952. After serving our country in the military, Jim worked for the New York State Electric and Gas Company for 37 years, first as a lineman and later as a foreman with a close-knit group of co-workers, many of whom remained good friends for years after they retired.
While Jim and Ann were raising their three children, Jim was continually active in area sports programs, playing with local recreational softball and basketball teams. Jim was a perennial participant in the Monticello Summer Softball League, playing with friends for decades on teams that included Tuzzeo’s, Miller Automatic, Roark’s Tavern and Bend-an-Elbow. He also played for many years in the village winter basketball league, earning MVP Honors, and later played in weekly basketball games at the Cooke and Rutherford Elementary Schools. Jim mentioned from time to time with a smile that he managed to get a hit off famed softball windmill pitcher Eddie Feigner in a game against the King and his Court, a team that won more than 95% of the games it played with Feigner delivering pitches clocked at 104 mph.
Jim spent years coaching young people in area baseball, basketball and soccer programs. He coached Little League baseball teams, CYO, Presbyterian and Methodist Youth Group basketball teams and Area Youth Soccer Organization teams for many years. Jim served his community in other ways over the years, serving as a member of the School Board for the Monticello Central School District for 10 years, 8 years as Board President. He served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for young people, was an instrumental member of the committee for the construction of Monticello High School Athletic Fields and served on the Board of Directors of the Monticello Little League.
In his later years, Jim volunteered to serve on the Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties’ Forestburgh 5K Run Committee and as a volunteer auctioneer for the Methodist Church of Rock Hill, and the Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal Church and Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library auctions in Monticello. Jim loved repairing and restoring antique clocks and pump organs, and he spent some peaceful time sailing on Pleasure Lake in Fallsburg, New York.
Jim and his wife Ann served as Trustees of the William and May D. Norris Foundation Trust from 1990 to 2021, a charitable foundation that provides an annual college scholarship to a deserving senior at Monticello High School. The Foundation also makes yearly donations to a number of organizations, including CARE USA, the American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, Sullivan County Community College and the Monticello Episcopal Church. Jim, his wife Ann and great friend Richie Chiger of Monticello were instrumental in the development and August 2016 passage of “Dean’s Law”, a statute enacted by the Sullivan County Legislature creating the Animal Abuser Registry to address animal abuse by hindering further adoptions of animals by people deemed abusive.
In 2017, Jim was inducted into The Monticello Central School District Hall of Distinction, which “honors highly successful alumni, former Board of Education members and former employees who have achieved distinction, outstanding accomplishments or made significant contributions within their school, family, career, community and/or personal lives”.
Jim was predeceased by his parents, his older brother Norman L. Culligan, his younger brother John W. Culligan and his daughter-in-law Nancy (Segal) Culligan. Jim is survived by his wife of 70 years Ann, his three children, Kevin J. Culligan (Nancy J. Culligan) of Cortlandt Manor, NY, Kim E. Culligan (Vivien Loughran) of Poughkeepsie, NY, and Kelly A. Ketcham (Gerald Ketcham, Jr.) of Monticello, NY. He leaves behind five grandchildren, Ryan J. Culligan (Seanna Walsh), Katherine L. Culligan, Casey A. Culligan (Matthew F. Benoit), Tyler G. Ketcham (Catherine Poli) and Christopher J. Ketcham (Brianna Safko), six great-grandchildren, William Walsh Culligan, Connor, Nolan, Cody, Abigail and Mackenzie Ketcham, a foster great-grandson named King and a soon to be born great-granddaughter who will be named Nora Nancy James Culligan.
Jim was a person of great integrity and extraordinary wisdom, selflessness, courage, quiet strength, tolerance, dignity, compassion and kindness. He was usually the last to speak in a discussion or debate after listening carefully to others, and he was usually right. Jim always gave more than he took, and we are richer for it. He has provided the generations that follow him with a powerful example of how to be a good person, live a good life and make things better for the people and creatures who we touch and who surround us. We were blessed to have shared time with him.
Jim’s family would like to thank Kimnova White, Denise Thompson-Pierre and Joan Lewis for their expert and loving care of Jim and Ann during Jim’s illness. We will always be grateful for what they continue to do for us with patience, energy, expertise and compassion. The family also wants to offer special thanks to Brandy Keller and Christina Carmody of Hospice of Orange & Sullivan and to Dr. Imran Ahmed.
Funeral services will be handled by VanInwegen-Kenny of Monticello. Burial and a memorial service will be scheduled for a date early in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to any of the following:
Best Friends Animal Society
Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties, Inc.
VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System
A Charity of Your Choice