James Kevin Straub died peacefully at his home in Brooklin on Sunday, April 18, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.
Affectionally called “Stubby” by his family and friends, Jim was recognized by all those who knew him for his uniquely dry, pithy and timely sense of humor, coupled with a sharp wit. In both his personal and professional interactions these attributes brought smiles and pleasure to many.
Jim was a New Year’s baby, born Jan. 1, 1953, in Stroudsburg, Pa., to Walter C. and Catherine C. Straub. He grew up in Pennsylvania, graduating from East Stroudsburg University with a BA in English writing and education. He worked as a canvasser for the Pennsylvania Public Interest Coalition, as a bartender and as a reporter and bureau chief for the Hometown newspapers in Carbondale, Pa. Moving to Maine, he taught freshman composition and writing skills at the University of Maine in Orono. Over time he accumulated extensive graduate study credits in English and writing there.
Jim’s passions for writing and journalism found full fruition in his work for the Penobscot Bay Press and The Ellsworth American newspapers in Hancock County. From 1991 to 2000, he was a reporter, then senior writer, then news editor at Penobscot Bay Press. From 2000 to 2012, he was a staff reporter for The American. Returning to Penobscot Bay Press in 2012, he served as copy editor for the three newspapers and special publications until the time of his death.
No greater example of Jim’s commitment and dedication to his profession, his job and his work colleagues can be found past the fact that he stayed focused and on his job until just a few weeks before his death.
His Maine newspaper colleagues knew and respected him for his commitment to the craft, for getting it right, for his sense of news value, for meeting deadlines with clean copy and for his overriding passion for the written language. As a reporter and copy editor his bedrock principles were always that writing should be balanced, accurate, appropriate, complete, coherent and cohesive. For all of this he was known as “the rock” at Penobscot Bay Press.
During his career he earned numerous professional awards for his work in competition with staffs from other newspapers. From the Maine Press Association, he received first-place awards for his spot news reporting on several occasions, for his news/editorial analysis and for his education writing. From the New England Newspaper and Press Association he received two first-place awards for his spot news writing. Also talented behind the lens, in competition with journalists from around the country, he received a first-place award for best breaking news photo from the National Newspaper Association. In these competitions he also received numerous second- and third-place awards during his career.
He was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Kathleen Sabatine. He is survived by June Kellogg, his best friend and loving wife of 42 years; a sister, Patricia Baylor, and her husband, Rob Baylor; a brother-in-law, Woody Kellogg, and his partner Gail Wilmott; a niece and nephew, Robyn Baylor and Matthew Sabatine.
There will be a Zoom memorial celebration on Sunday, May 9, 2021, at 3 p.m. to celebrate Jim’s life and share remembrances. For a link to the memorial celebration, contact [email protected]
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Friend Memorial Public Library, P.O. Box 57, Brooklin, ME 04616 or donate online at friendml.org/donate.