James M. Caldwell obit

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - James M. Caldwell, retired vice president of the old Orion Broadcasting Company and former minority floor leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives, died Tuesday, August 15, 2006, at Baptist East Hospital. He was 87.

He was the son of the late James M, Caldwell, Sr., and Lillian Layson Caldwell, both of Bourbon County, Ky., where he was born July 5, 1919. His brother, Kenneth, died in 1979.

A veteran of World War II, Caldwell served in the Navy from 1942-46 in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Indian oceans aboard an LST and destroyer. He was discharged as a Lieutenant, junior grade, and served 20 years in the Navy Reserve.

He was a reporter on the Courier-Journal for a year before WWII, and for six months in 1946 before joining the old WAVE Radio as news director. He was the first television news director in Kentucky and WAVE-TV went on the air in 1948. He later was manager of WAVE Radio and worked in various capacities for Orion, WAVE's parent company owned by the late George W. Norton family.

Caldwell was a past president of the Kentucky Broadcasters Association, past chairman of the NBC radio affiliates committee, and former radio vice chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters. He was named to the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 1995.

He was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1962 to 1967, and was minority floor leader in 1966-67. He was voted by the media as "Outstanding Legislator" of the 1966 session, and the same year was awarded the KEA Lincoln Key for his role in passing the 1966 Civil Rights bill. He was a member of the Louisville & Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee from 1968 to 1989, serving as its chairman in 1982-83. He was a recipient of the GOP's John Sherman Cooper Award and Henry Heyburn Award.

Caldwell was chairman of the Louisville & Jefferson County Crime Commission 1968-73, a charter member of the Kentucky Derby Festival in 1957, and board member of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Louisville Better Business Bureau, YMCA, and United Way. He served on the city councils of Fairmeade and Maryhill Estates.

A graduate of Paris (Ky.) High School, Caldwell was a 1941 graduate of the University of Kentucky. He was editor of the Kentucky Kernel in 1940-41 and since 1981 served on the UK journalism alumni board.

Caldwell was an associate member of the Cathedral of the Assumption and a member of the Filson Club, the Paris-Bourbon County Historical Society, and Children of the American Revolution. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternity, the UK faculty club, the Longboat Key Club of Sarasota, Florida, and past president of the Louisville Boat Club.

He was married on November 18, 1946, to Mary Moorman Ryan. They have three daughters: Kitty (Dr. C. Ross) Morrison of Louisville; Julia (Dr. John A.) Morris of Nashville, and Peggy Caldwell of Shaker Heights, Ohio. Grandchildren: Carrie (Michael) Arrowood of Hendersonville, NC; James (Stephanie) Morrison of Cambridge, MA; Emily (Graham) Newton of Louisville; Jessie Morris of Cambridge, MA; Sara Morris of Nashville; and Maggie Elliott and Peter Elliott of Shaker Heights, Ohio. Nephew: James Caldwell III of Florida. Nieces: Linda Harrison of Florida and Sandra Jelek of Louisiana.

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