In memory of
James P Cullen
1945 - 2017 72, of Scarsdale, NY, died at home on Friday, December 8, 2017. Born January 27, 1945 in Queens, NY to Agnes Gorman and Patrick Cullen, he graduated from Iona College and St. John's University School of Law. Jim served in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, retiring in 1996 as a Brigadier General and the Chief Judge of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
A real estate and human rights attorney, Jim was the co-founder and first President of the Brehon Law Society, served on the Advisory Board of Human Rights First, was President and Chairman of Friends of Sinn Fein, Inc., was the Treasurer of the Construction Industry World Trade Center Disaster Relief Fund and a Board Member of the 4th JAG Alumni Association.
After putting himself through law school driving tractor-trailer trucks, Jim dedicated his life to carrying out the values instilled by his Catholic faith. Jim became a champion for human rights. He represented the chaplain in the Peers Commission inquiry after the My Lai Massacre. He was also instrumental in assembling a group of retired military officers to speak out against the use of torture and call for the closure of the Guantánamo prison. President Obama said of this group: "they've made an extraordinary impression on me. They are outstanding Americans, who have fought and defended this country, and for them to fight on behalf of our constitutional ideals and values, I think, is exceptional."
Jim fought for justice in Irish human rights causes. He worked tirelessly to bring peace to Ireland. He played an active role in the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement, acted as an international civil rights monitor in Northern Ireland, testified before Congress in the case of murdered human rights lawyer, Patrick Finucane and assisted with the inquiry into the killing of Rosemary Nelson. A true leader and inspiration to many, the Graymoor Franciscan Friars awarded him the Graymoor Award (2014) for his human rights work.
Jim is survived by his partner, Catherine Kelly, his children, Tara Carbonaro (husband Salvatore) of Wilton, CT, Kerry Bartelemucci (husband Lawrence) of Katonah, NY, Erin Stilp (husband Erik) of Milwaukee, WI, and Sean Cullen (wife Lindsey) of Scarsdale, NY, their mother, Traudy Cullen, and eight grandchildren, Timothy, Ella, and Eamon Carbonaro, Adeline and Grace Bartelemucci, Thomas and Emmet Stilp, and Olivia Cullen.
He will be remembered as a soldier, lawyer, and human rights worker. The story of his courage and generosity will endure through the impact he had on friends, family, and everyone who was lucky enough to know him.
Jim's life brings to mind an Irish phrase describing someone that has given everything for a cause:
"Thug Jim an méid a bhí ina chnámha ar son saoirse na hÉireann."
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Pat Finucane Centre, Unit 8B, Rathmor Business Centre, Eastway, Creggan, Derry, Northern Ireland (http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/).
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