Longtime Herald columnist James McCusker dies at 82

He passed away June 21 after a fall weeks earlier. He had written for The Herald since the 1980s.

James McCusker

James McCusker

EVERETT — James McCusker, a decades-long business columnist for The Daily Herald, died Sunday at the age of 82.

He had written articles for the newspaper every week since the late 1980s, said his daughter, Marianne McCusker. He lived on the Snohomish County side of Bothell and spent more than 40 years in the same home.

McCusker grew up on the East Coast, in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. His father was an insurance agent and his mother was a homemaker. He had an older sister.

He attended Cornell University and at first planned to study engineering. It wasn’t the right fit. He did take interest in the math part of that subject, though, and became an economist.

McCusker served in the U.S. Coast Guard in the 1960s and taught for a couple of years at the U.S. Naval Academy while he and his family lived in Washington, D.C. They moved to the West Coast in 1975.

They started off on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, where some friends had settled. McCusker interviewed for a job at a university there but never heard back. He figured they chose another candidate and accepted a different job at a Seafirst Bank branch in Bothell.

About a month later, he heard back from the school, whose leaders wondered where he was. He had been chosen for the job, after all.

“I think he thought of it as a happy accident,” Marianne McCusker said.

Later, he hosted a radio show called “Destination Economics,” which aired on KPLU-FM and KSER-FM for about 10 years, Marianne McCusker said.

In the 1990s, McCusker taught for Washington State University in the hotel and restaurant management school in Seattle for about five years.

Marianne McCusker is not sure how her father began to write for The Herald but wonders if the opportunity might have come from the radio show.

“He loved learning about the area,” Marianne McCusker said. “I think that’s why he was grateful for the column.”

He enjoyed meeting new people and writing about issues here at a time of major growth. He was interested in finding out how that growth affected businesses and how people were adapting, Marianne McCusker said.

McCusker was an avid reader.

“He took in a tremendous amount of information reading newspapers and online journals,” Marianne McCusker said. “He would sort of fashion that into what he knew would be interesting to him, and what he knew would be interesting for the readers.”

McCusker’s final column ran Feb. 7. Around that time he fell ill with the flu, Marianne McCusker said.

McCusker fell while on a walk June 6, on what would have been his and his wife’s 61st wedding anniversary. His wife, Mary Elizabeth McCusker, died in 2002.

Marianne McCusker is their only child and lives in Bothell. Her dad passed away on Father’s Day at the EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland.

“One thing that was fortunate, his mind was working until the end,” she said. “And I think that’s something to be very grateful for.”

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Site preparation for housing development was underway Tuesday, June 8, at the property known as Frognal Estates near Edmonds. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210608
Site prep underway at contested development near Mukilteo

The site near Picnic Point recently sold for $24 million after the previous developer filed for bankruptcy.

A portion of the site of the proposed Lake Stevens Costco at the intersection of Highway 9 (right) and South Lake Stevens Road (below, out of view). (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Shovel alert: Groundbreaking on Lake Stevens Costco is near

A land sale in early June cleared the way. The mayor says dirt could be flying as soon as next week.

FILE - In this Feb.14, 2019 file photo, an Airbus A380, left, and a Boeing 747, both from Lufthansa airline pass each other at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. The United States and the European Union on Tuesday appeared close to clinching a deal to end a damaging dispute over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing and lift billions of dollars in punitive tariffs. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)
Airbus-Boeing deal eases US-EU tensions but conflicts remain

For now, though, a truce in the Boeing-Airbus dispute goes a long way toward repairing a huge relationship.

The Everett Post Office is shown with a "now hiring" sign in 2019. (Sue MIsao / Herald file)
Washington unemployment rate dipped to 5.3% in May

Private sector employment increased by 7,000 jobs and government employment increased by 1,300 jobs.

Boeing 737 Max airplanes, including one belonging to TUI Group, left, sit parked at a storage lot, Monday, April 26, 2021, near Boeing Field in Seattle.  Lawmakers, on Tuesday, May 18,  are asking Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration for records detailing production problems with two of the company's most popular airliners. The lawmakers are focusing on the Boeing 737 Max and a larger plane, the 787, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Biden administration talking to China on Boeing Max approval

The planes remain banned in the country while other jurisdictions have reauthorized it following crashes.

You voted: The best pho in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites

Supporters march Wednesday afternoon across from Providence Medical Center in Everett on May 5, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Everett nurses threaten to strike as contract talks stall

Union leaders say Providence’s latest offer includes low wages and cuts to benefits and paid leave.

Bothell man sentenced for illegally trading Amazon stock

He got confidential information from his wife, who was an Amazon finance employee at the time.

Snohomish roofing company fined $1.2M for safety violations

State inspectors noted a dozen “willful serious violations.” Allways Roofing says it will appeal.

Most Read