James R. Costello Sr., 81: Sun Media leader was dedicated to news, community, family

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SCARBOROUGH — James R. Costello Sr., 81, of Scarborough, died July 9 at home, surrounded by family, following a courageous eight-month battle with cancer.

Born June 14, 1934, in Lewiston, son of Russell Hill and Jane Cassidy Costello, James graduated from Lewiston High School and the University of Maine. He served in the U.S. Army European Theater of Operations from 1956-1957.

He was married to Janice Callahan on July 12, 1958. Together they had five children and eight grandchildren. You were likely to find Costello on a golf course in Naples, Florida, or summering at Pine Point. He was a talented athlete and a fierce competitor.

Among his many sports accomplishments, he shot his age while golfing at age 78 and made three holes-in-one, two occurring two weeks apart in 2013. He also won the Wyndemere Senior Club Championship in 2007. Costello looked forward to family vacations and his fishing trips with friends. He shared his enjoyment of sailing, golf, skiing at Mt. Abram and Sugarloaf, tennis and woodworking with his family.

He joined the Sun Journal in 1952, working part time in the press room and composing room. He was named production manager in 1960. He was named general manager in 1979, publisher and treasurer in 1983, and president and publisher in 1993, a position he held until his death. His company, Sun Media Group, also publishes The Forecaster.

Costello demonstrated his commitment to the newspaper industry and his community through his involvement. He was past president of the Maine Daily Newspapers Publishers Association and the New England Newspaper Association, past member of the Advisory Board of the American Mutual Insurance Company, member of the board of directors of Northeast Bank, campaign chairman and past president of the Lewiston-Auburn United Way Fund, past member of the Governor Curtis State Mental Health Program, past president and governing board member of the St. Marguerite d’Youville Pavilion, past president and member of the board of directors of Tri-County Mental Health Planning Board, past president and Governing Board member of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, past director of Northern Utilities Inc., past director of the Maine Criminal Justice Planning and Assistance Agency, past chairman of the Lewiston Police Commission, past treasurer of the Festival by the Lake, past member of the Advisory Board for Fleet Bank, member of the board of directors of Falmouth Country Club, and a lifelong, active member of St. Joseph’s Parish.

James Costello is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Janice; his five children, Catherine Snook and her husband, Edward, of Auburn, James Jr. and his wife, Debra, of Lewiston, Stephen and his wife, Mary Ellen, of Lewiston, David and his wife, Carie, of Falmouth, and Maureen Wedge and her husband, David, of Westbrook; eight grandchildren, Edward “Ted” Jr., Meghan and Anna Snook, Kevin, Stephanie and Courtney Costello, and Caitlin and David Costello; and one sister, Jane Wellehan, of Portland.

He was predeceased by his parents; and his sister, Alice Dillingham.

The Costello family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation for the care and compassion James received from Central Maine Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Hospice of Southern Maine. Special thanks to Dr. William Lee for his extraordinary care. The family is very grateful for his kindness, concern and support.

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