Eugene Collins “Gene” Pulliam


Eugene Collins “Gene” Pulliam

Grant County, Kansas, USA
Death 23 Jun 1975 (aged 86)
Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Burial Lebanon, Boone County, Indiana, USA
Plot Section 34 South
Memorial ID 96207481 View Source
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He was a veteran of World War I.


The Muncie Star, Tuesday, June 24, 1975.

Eugene C. Pulliam, publisher of The Muncie Star, Muncie Evening Press and five other newspapers in Indiana and Arizona, died Monday afternoon at a Phoenix hospital. He was 86. Mr. Pulliam was taken to the hospital after becoming ill at his home at mid-afternoon. He was treated at his home and en route to the hospital by fire department lifesquad members and his physician. He died two hours after admittance to St. Joseph's Hospital. Death was attributed to a stroke. President of Muncie Newspapers, Inc., which owns The Star and Press, he was also the owner of The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis News, Vincennes Sun-Commercial; Arizona Republic, and Phoenix Gazette.

His survivors include his wife, Nina; a son, Eugene S. Pulliam, assistant publisher of The Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News; two daughters, Mrs. James C. Quayle of Muncie and Mrs. William C. Murphy of Potomac, Md.; and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Commenting on Pulliam's death, Indiana Gov. Otis R. Bowen said, "I'm shocked and saddened. Indianapolis, Indiana, and indeed America, have lost a great citizen. Mr. Pulliam was a great American, a great Hoosier and an outstanding citizen of Indianapolis. He will be sorely missed by us all." Funeral arrangements were incomplete late Monday night.

Eugene Collins Pulliam, born in a dugout shelter in Grant County, Kan., once told his mother that he was "too profane" to follow in the steps of his Methodist minister father. He said, there was still "a lot of evangelism in journalism. Otherwise we'd be in some other business." His father, the Rev. Irvin B. Pulliam, was a frontier home missionary for the Methodist Church. He received his first schooling from his mother, Martha Ellen Pulliam, to whom he was devoted. He studied first at nearby Baker Academy at Baldwin, Kan., and in 1906 he enrolled at DePauw University, the alma mater of his mother when it was known as Asbury College. While at DePauw, he became campus correspondent for The Indianapolis Star, the paper he was to buy some 38 years later.

During his first summer vacation, he worked in the circulation department of the Chanute, Kan., Sun. In his sophomore year he started the DePauw Daily, a campus paper successful enough to help pay his college expenses. During his long career he had owned 46 newspapers in 10 states. Noting that he first delivered newspapers at the age of six, he once said, "I never ran a linotype, but I'd done everything else. I've carried papers, sold papers on trains, been a cub reporter, police reporter, staff reporter. I've covered every run there is. I've made up the paper, run a press and sold advertising." Among the awards he said he prized most highly was his honorary membership in the International Printing Pressman's and Assistants' Union of North America.

Pulliam newspapers gave more than $250,000 to the Phoenix and Indianapolis zoos and provided scholarships for carriers and children of employees. He also donated money to hospitals, symphonies, museums and religious, educational and health organizations. He covered many of the major stories of this century at home and abroad, and was a three term member of the board of directors and first vice president of The Associated Press. In 1909, he and nine other DePauw undergraduates founded Sigma Delta Chi, which had become the top national organization for professional journalists. After graduation, Pulliam joined the Kansas City Star as a reporter, leaving that paper at 23 to take over the Atchison, Kan., Champion. From there, he moved to Indiana in 1915 as part owner of the Franklin Evening Star. His holdings later included newspapers in Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, in addition to Indiana and Arizona.

Personally acquainted with every President since Theodore Roosevelt, whom he first interviewed as a cub reporter in Kansas City, Pulliam was one of the first newspaper publishers to support Dwight D. Eisenhower in his race for the Republican presidential nomination in 1952. Pulliam later said that although he was a close friend of Ohio Sen. Robert A. Taft, who also was seeking the nomination, polls convinced him that Taft might be unable to defeat Democratic contender Adlai Stevenson in the general election. So he supported Eisenhower, who won the nomination and became a two-term President. Pulliam added that "Eisenhower was a good President because he was a good man." He decried the "petty political intrigue" which plagued Eisenhower, but noted, "the Eisenhower years were good years for America."

He was a strong champion of freedom of the press and received the John Peter Zenger Award from the University of Arizona in 1965. His newspapering philosophy was summed up in 1944, when, at the time he purchased The Muncie Star and The Indianapolis Star, he asserted that The Muncie Star would be " a policy of common sense, common honesty and common decency, striving to be clean, broad-minded, progressive, fair, helpful, patriotic, and above all, truthful and accurate." He was awarded honorary degrees by Wabash College, Indiana University, DePauw University, Huntington College, Vincennes University, Franklin College, Indiana Technical College, and Butler University, all in Indiana; from Arizona State University in Tempe; from Baker University in Kansas, and Norwich University in Vermont. In addition to the Freedom of the Press award from the University of Arizona, Pulliam's list of honors include the American Legion's National Commander's Journalist Achievement Award, the Arizona Newspaper Association's Master Editor-Publisher Award, and the award of Journalistic Merit from the William Allen White Foundation.

Pulliam was one of the strongest advocates of freedom of speech in the publishing world. He closed nearly every speech he made over the last 20 years with the statement, "If you forget everything else I've said, remember this -- America is great only because America is free." In a speech accepting the Zenger award, Pulliam said: "If newspapers will recognize their responsibility, as well as their opportunity, to print the truth; refuse to be intimidated, refuse to bow to government bureaucracy, then they will serve the highest cause of civilization, which is individual freedom, the freedom of choice and the right of free expression. As partners in freedom the people and the press in America can save liberty."


The Muncie Star, Wednesday, June 25, 1975.

Memorial services for Eugene C. Pulliam, publisher of The Muncie Star, Muncie Evening Press and five other newspapers in Indiana and Arizona, will be held in the Church of the Beatitudes at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Members of the family said the Rev. Culver Nelson, the pastor, was returning from a vacation in California to officiate. Pulliam, 86, died Monday after suffering a stroke in his Paradise Valley home north of Phoenix. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday in the Meridian Street United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Private graveside services and burial will be at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lebanon, Ind.

Among the first to pay tribute to Pulliam, who started his newspaper career in his teens as a circulation employee was President Gerald Ford. The President called him "a giant in the newspaper publishing business." Former President Richard M. Nixon, from his home in San Clemente, joined in praise for the publisher. "With a great feeling of sorrow, Mrs. Nixon and I have learned of the death of Eugene Pulliam. He was a courageous, independent, great figure in American history. He stood for the highest principles in his profession and in government," said the Nixon message of condolence.

There was evidence that Pulliam who often referred to himself as a "shirtsleeve reporter," was at work before being felled by the stroke. Bill Shover, an executive with the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette, said on a scratch pad beside Pulliam's bed was the name "Goldwater." "It apparently was a reminder for another editorial," said Shover. The family requested that any memorial contributions be made to the Indianapolis Zoo or the Phoenix Zoo.


The Muncie Star, Friday, June 27, 1975.

Eugene Collins Pulliam, among the last of a bygone era in American journalism was eulogized Thursday as a man "who yearned to communicate truth as he saw it." More than 1,000 persons crowded into the Church of the Beatitudes and hundreds of others listened to his memorial service through a special telephone hookup to his newspapers here - The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette. Pulliam, founder of an empire which included more than 45 newspapers during his lifetime, was publisher of major dailies here and in Indiana at the time of his death Monday of a stroke. He was 86.

President Ford is sending his deputy press secretary, Gerald Warren, to represent him at the funeral service in Indianapolis scheduled for 2 p.m. in Meridian Street United Methodist Church. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, Lebanon. "Gene will not simply be missed or forgotten," said Dr. Culver H. Nelson, minister of the church. "In a very special way, his influence will linger on and remind us that none can take his place. He is too unique for that. He is irreplaceable." "In two states, all flags fly at half staff this day," the minister said. "This is rare recognition for a man who, in the most technical sense, was a private citizen. But we all know, else why should we be here, Gene Pulliam was larger than anyone's private world. Some have suggested, and they are not mistaken, that an era has passed and a giant in his vocation has gone forth from among us."

"Behind the newpaperman's tough facade, there was a large reservoir of human sensitivity. He was a man, controversial often, irrelevant never. He passionately cared for the gift of life - with his family and friends, among his colleagues, and within the wider human community. You may disagree with him on this or that issue, but never doubt that he cared. He was evidence anew that there is a difference between power and influence. Gene Pulliam deliberately sought to be a person of influence more than of power, yearned to communicate truth as he saw it, and wisdom as he understood it."

- Mary #47834805

Family Members

Gravesite Details Buried in the same lot are: Irvin, Martha, Zella, Eugene Pulliam along with Mary and Charlotte Chandler.

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  • Created by: Marc Doty
  • Added: 29 Aug 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 96207481
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Eugene Collins “Gene” Pulliam (3 May 1889–23 Jun 1975), Find a Grave Memorial ID 96207481, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Lebanon, Boone County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Marc Doty (contributor 46843703) .