Veteran Pennsylvania editor Jim Kilcur, 62, remembered

February 2014

James F. Kilcur, 62, a Philadelphia labor attorney who had served as the editor of Pennsylvania Employmentpa-james_kilcur Law Letter since May 2002, died February 19, 2014, of leukemia. He had been a partner at Saul Ewing since 1995.

Jim wrote a monthly “Ask the Editor” column for the newsletter and was often quoted in HR Hero Line articles and elsewhere about best employment practices for employers. As a member of the Employers Counsel Network, he and his wife, Terry, who survives, were regular attendees at ECN events and friends to many in the network. 

“Terrible news,” said Missouri Employment Law Letter editor John Vering of Armstrong Teasdale in Kansas City. “Jim was a great guy, and my wife, Ann, and I really enjoyed the time we spent with Jim and Terry at the conferences.” Echoing those remarks was South Carolina editor Reggie Gay of the McNair Law Firm in Columbia, who said: “I am in shock. My wife, Sharon, and I were looking forward to seeing them in Austin, Texas,” site of this year’s national conference in late April. Added Armstrong Teasdale’s Robert Kaiser of St. Louis: “I’m heartbroken by the news. I had the pleasure of not only seeing Jim at our conferences but working with him on a matter or two. A real gentleman.”

In Philadelphia news reports published in the days immediately after Jim’s death, he was regularly described as a “true gentleman” and “humble, unassuming, and friendly.” His fellow members in the Employers Counsel Network had those same observations. “If I ever had a question about Pennsylvania law, a quick call to Jim would provide the answer,” said former Tennessee Employment Law Letter editor John Phillips of Chattanooga. “Two of the words included in the article about Jim are two words I would have readily used to describe him: ‘gentleman’ and ‘gracious.'”

Former Georgia Employment Law Letter editor Dave Hagaman also remembered Jim as “generous.” About 10 years ago, the Atlanta attorney had to travel to Philadelphia for a case so he called Jim to see if he could borrow a Saul Ewing office for depositions and also get some hotel recommendations. He said Jim replied, “I can recommend some of the hotels around our office, but my personal recommendation would be to put you up in the Union League.” Hagaman said he quickly told Jim: “You know, I’m a labor lawyer representing management. I can’t stay in some union building.”

After a short pause, Hagaman could hear Jim chuckling. “No, it’ll be OK,” Jim assured him. Turns out, the Union League is a combination city club and private hotel that occupies an entire block in the center of Philadelphia’s commercial and cultural district. It was founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the Union and the policies of President Abraham Lincoln. It’s an exclusive club, and Jim was a member. “He put me up there and it was spectacular,” Hagaman added.

Others remembered Jim as “fun to be around.” Virginia editor Michael Barnsback with LeclairRyan in Alexandria recalled the time during the 2010 ECN annual conference in New Orleans when he introduced Jim to “Hurricanes” at Pat O’Brien’s. “The next morning Terry and my wife, Lynn, bonded at breakfast while Jim and I bonded over our night out on the town,” Barnsback said, smiling. “After that, even though we only saw each other at the annual meetings, each meeting felt like a family reunion. This may sound trite, but the ECN group has become an extended family for me. Jim’s loss has been hard to take.”

In addition to his wife, Jim is survived by three sons, James Francis III, wife Kristen and granddaughter Annabel Katherine; Patrick Ryan and fiancé Julie; and Matthew Victor; sister Marguerite Eagan and husband Russ; brothers-in-law Rev. Msgr. Ralph Chieffo and Angelo Chieffo and wife Anna. The funeral service and burial were held on February 25, 2014. According to reports, donations can be made in Jim’s  name to: De Sales University, 2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, PA 18034.