Cancer silences legendary UC broadcaster

Cancer silences legendary UC broadcaster

Cancer has silenced one of the area’s most familiar voices. Jim Cawley, long-time broadcaster for Union City High School and Obion County sports and veteran radio news man, died at 6:45 this morning at his home after a 20-month battle with the incurable disease. He was 55. Services will be 1 p.m. Saturday at Union City First Baptist Church. Friends may call at the church 4-8 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. until the hour of services Saturday. White-Ranson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements and will announce completed details. Cawley was diagnosed with brain cancer in the fall of 2006 and had undergone extensive surgery and treatments since then. He continued to work at his job as a public relations liaison at Reelfoot Bank until about a month ago. For more than 35 years and more than 3,000 games, Cawley was the voice of Obion County high school sports. He covered mostly Union City athletics, but also broadcast both Obion County Central and South Fulton preps as well. He called each of the seven state basketball championships won by the three Obion County schools since 1985, his last work behind the microphone coming this past March when UCHS won its fifth such title with a thrilling comeback victory over Memphis Manassas for the Class 1A crown. He also was the voice for the Golden Tornado football team, following the program to Class 2A state runnerup finishes in both 1997 and 2000 and a 1A second-place showing in 2005 with longtime partner Mike Rauchle by his side. Cawley additionally served as news director for nearly three decades at WENK, where he spent the majority of his broadcast career before joining Thunderbolt Broadcasting and WQAK for his last two years of sports coverage. Cawley also did extensive broadcast work for UT Martin, providing both television play-by-play and color commentary for the college’s football and basketball programs on public station WLJT-TV. “Jim Cawley was a class broadcaster, but more important than that, a class person,” said Paul Tinkle, president and general manager of Thunderbolt Broadcasting. “He was a true giant in the broadcasting business and a person who loved and gave back to his community and its young people. “He’ll be greatly missed on the airwaves as well as in the public sector.” Cawley was also extensively involved for more than 20 years in the Union City Babe Ruth League, serving in a variety of roles while promoting the youth baseball circuit. He was also a member of the Union City Greyhounds’ board of directors and the UC Rotary Club and was a member of First Baptist Church in Union City. Condolences may be sent to the family at the funeral home Web site: www.white-ranson.com. Published in The Messenger 6.4.08

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