Jim was born on February 27, 1945 to the late Henry A. and Aloise Barrett McNulty in the High Works section of Scranton. Raised in Valley View Terrace, Jim then attended South Scranton and South Catholic High School. Following his family’s move to West Scranton, he graduated as Senior Class President of Saint Patrick’s High School in 1962. In 1966, he graduated from the University of Scranton as Student Body President with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. His calling to a life of political service first began when he joined Young Democrats for John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Known for his signature Red Rose, Jim served as the 26th Mayor of Scranton from 1982 to 1986. Some of his most notable accomplishments as Mayor include: the relocation of the Steamtown Railroad Museum from Bellows Falls Vermont; the opening of Montage Mountain Ski Resort; and the restoration of the former Erie Lackawanna Train Station.
Before his mayoral term, Jim served as Deputy Mayor to Mayor Eugene J. Peters. He also acted as Director of the Department of Public Works; Chairman of the Scranton Redevelopment Authority; Chairman of the Scranton Recreation Authority; City of Scranton Urban Affairs Coordinator, and member of the City of Scranton Government Study Commission.
Jim was an elected member of the following organizations: Board of Trustees to the US Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the Pennsylvania League of Cities and he served as the first Executive Director of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors in Washington, D.C.
Later in his career as President of the James Barrett McNulty Agency, Jim worked as a passionate political consultant for city, county, state, legislative, congressional and presidential candidates. Campaigns of note to Jim included that of U.S. Senator John Heinz and U.S. Senator Edmund Muskie for Vice President of the United States. Jim was a favorite of the national media for his clever, keen and colorful insights into the political process.
Jim was the host of WARM radio talk show “the Mayor of WARMland” and host and Executive Producer of “Sunday Live with Jim McNulty.” “Sunday Live” was a public affairs program on the CBS affiliate for over 13 years. Distinguished guests on his program included a former US president, governors, senators, congressmen, Academy Award nominated actors, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, Major League baseball players, statewide union leaders, newspaper editors, among others.
During his political career, Jim appeared as a guest on the NBC, CBS and ABC broadcast evening news, the McNeil/Lehrer Report, as well as C-Span and CNN programming. He was a front page profile in the Wall Street Journal and was featured in Newsweek Magazine, as well as other major publications throughout his career.
Jim did a great deal of celebrating in the last year of his life. In 2015, his 70th birthday with honored by hundreds of his closest friends and family at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel; he was named Grand Marshall of the Scranton St. Patrick’s Day Parade; was the recipient of the “Spirit of Hope Award” from Northeast Regional Cancer Institute and was named Grand Marshall of RailFest at Steamtown National Historic Site.
Jim was preceded in death by his sister-in-law, Barbara Shenik McNulty.
He is survived by five siblings, Thomas and his wife, Karen, Scranton; Timothy and his wife, Barbara, Moosic; Joseph, Scranton; Margaret ‘Peg’ Kubilus, Scranton; and Mary Lou, Scranton. Also surviving are his mother-in-law, Nancy Coggins Rafalko; brother-in-law, Jack and wife, Janet; sister-in-law, Robin Purnell and companion, Ben Bloom; as well as his beloved nieces and nephews, Erin Harris and husband, Kevin; Ryan Kubilus and wife, Melissa; Katie McNulty; Michael McNulty and wife, Amy; Catherine McNulty Tanana Ph.D., and husband, Chris; Shane McNulty; Timothy McNulty Jr.; Corey McNulty; Casey Evans and husband, Dan; Molly McNulty; Courtney McNulty; Ian Purnell; Tara McNulty: Samantha Rafalko, Nicole Rafalko and many great nieces and nephews.
Jim loved his “girls,” Daisy and Annie, his Yorkshire Terriers.
Jim was so very appreciative of the excellent care he received by all of the medical care professionals in Northeast Pennsylvania. The McNulty family would especially like to thank the caregivers from Hospice of the Sacred Heart, Spirit of Mercy, Allied Services Home Health and Dr. Louis DeNaples and the staff of Geisinger-CMC Emergency Department. With his passing, Jim and his family are proud that his eyesight will help eliminate corneal blindness through the Gift of Life Donor Program in honor of Cody Barrasse.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated by Father Joseph Sica on Monday, March 7, at 11 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Church, 801 Taylor Ave., Scranton, PA 18510.
Interment will follow at Cathedral Cemetery, West Scranton.
All attending the Mass are asked to go directly to the church.
Friends may call Sunday, March 6, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 801 Taylor Ave., Scranton.
Arrangements have been entrusted to and are under the care and direction of the Vanston & James Funeral Home, Ash Street, Scranton.
In lieu of flowers, the family strongly encourages that memorial contributions may be made to The Foundation for Cancer Care in Memory of James Barrett McNulty, 236 Penn Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503 or to the Immaculate Conception Church, Scranton.