James Douglas Lindemuth Sr., died Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune. He was 85 years old. Jim passed on in death the way he lived his life, with dignity and respect.
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Jim was born and raised in Wyomissing (PA) and graduated from Wyomissing High School in 1945. He was a gifted athlete who lettered in a number of sports including baseball, basketball, soccer and track and field events and also found time for football, golf and tennis.
Always wanting to play professional baseball, he worked his way from high school baseball on to the advanced American Legion baseball program and then the Reading (PA) City Industrial League, which produced many major league stars-to-be. With strong scouting reports and connections with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he appeared headed to the Dodgers system. However, his dreams of a baseball career were dashed as a result of sports-ending knee injuries.
Early on, Jim developed a keen interest in music and became an accomplished clarinetist. At the age of six, he began taking clarinet lessons, and alto saxophone instruction, under the direction of several prominent musicians who were products of the big band era. In 1944, he was honored to play 1st clarinet in the Pennsylvania All-State High School Band. Jim also studied music composition (counterpoint, theory and harmony) and composed a school song, "The Blue & The White," while at Wyomissing High School.
Jim went on to Lafayette College, Easton (PA) in pursuit of degrees in English and Geology. At Lafayette, he was a member of Zeta Psi national fraternity. While there, he formed a jazz group along the lines of the Benny Goodman Sextet and performed at local fraternity functions and nearby colleges, all of which helped to pay his college tuition expenses.
Having grown up in the big band "swing era," the wanderlust eventually got to him and he took a leave of absence to hook up with Tommy Dorsey, touring with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra for the better part of a year. He remained a friend of Tommy Dorsey until his unexpected death in 1956.
He had a storied professional career in network television and as an advertising executive.
Once out of college, he took his first job, in broadcasting, with CBS radio station WHUM in Reading (PA) where he developed creative writing skills as a copywriter, sportswriter and publicity writer and show producer. Writing was to become a vital part of his life and career.
Never satisfied with just one job at a time, Jim wrote weekly press releases for several "stock car" auto racetracks and contributed regular columns in National Speed Sport Magazine and Illustrated Speedway News. He also wrote publicity releases for the Reading entry in the Eastern Professional Basketball League and also found time to work as an "advance man" for the world-famous Shipstads & Johnson Ice Follies before continuing with a career in broadcasting.
In his game plan to move up to CBS Television in New York, he joined Philadelphia's WCAU TV-10, CBS top owned and operated TV station. It was here that he worked on a number of (Philadelphia) locally-produced shows which were fed to the CBS Network. While in Philadelphia, Jim was also assigned to the Philadelphia A's and Philadelphia Phillies baseball games, telecasting home games to opponents' cities when the local area was "blacked out." It was here where he met Robin Roberts, resulting in Jim engaging Roberts to host a sports show of the same name, written and produced by Jim. It was in Philadelphia TV where he also worked with Ed McMahon ("Johnny Carson Show") and Jack Whitaker ("Wide World of Sports"), who went on to become major TV personalities.
With his love of music and interest in opera, Jim wrote, directed and produced for CBS Television Theater "The Life and Works of Guiseppe Verdi." This accelerated his move to New York television.
Once having earned his spurs as a network television director on the New York stage, he joined "The Ed Sullivan Show," his first major TV connection in New York in those pioneer days of live television.
For the next 20 years, working in network television control rooms throughout New York City, Jim worked on some of the most celebrated shows in television history; "The Ed Sullivan Show" (he was there when Bo Diddley made his TV debut in 1955 and when Elvis Presley made his first of three appearances in 1956, performing "Shake, Rattle & Roll," "Hound Dog" and "Heartbreak Hotel" to a frenzied audience), and other CBS shows, including "The Arthur Godfrey Show," "The 564,000 Challenge," "What's My Line" and "Captain Kangaroo." He also worked on the "Steve Allen Show" at NBC-TV and "The Price Is Right" (with original host Bill Cullen), and on ABC-TV's "Who Do You Trust," where Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon teamed up for the first time in what was to become their long-term relationship.
When Jim achieved his goals in TV production, he moved on to Young & Rubicam, the prestigious Madison Avenue advertising agency, where he directed live television commercials. He later chose to take on still another challenge moving over to Y&R management where he was an account executive with responsibilities for major clients, including General Motors, Lipton, Remington, Goodyear, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Gulf, Cluett Peabody and General Foods. In working with these national accounts, he gained a lifetime of experience in media, marketing, research and merchandising.
In the course of his work, Jim also served as a casting director for numerous TV programs and television commercials, working with the William Morris Agency, the world's leading talent agency for entertainers, bands and pop personalities, and with major New York model agencies (e.g., Eileen Ford, John Powers) to engage actors, actresses and models for various television properties.
Having accomplished his goals in New York television and advertising circles spanning two decades, he left the city and moved to Fair Haven (NJ). He then utilized his television and advertising experience when he joined Hess Gasoline, serving the refining and marketing divisions as media director, director of customer relations for the gasoline station network and instructor in the Hess Dealer Training School.
Since he always had a passion for the retail business, Jim then moved to and opened a sporting goods store in Spring Lake (NJ) and a tennis boutique in Deal (NJ). Still wanting more responsibilities, he accepted a position as a manufacturer's representative, "repping" high-fashion tennis apparel for men and women, traveling to racquet clubs throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut. He also found time to serve as a commentator for tennis apparel fashion shows.
Once having satisfied his taste for "retail," Jim sold the stores and utilized his marketing skills in the equipment leasing field involving high-tech clients and manufacturers, acquiring mainframe configurations for the U.S. government, the aviation industry, and hospitals, all clamoring for advanced technology in upgrading their systems.
In 1979, while considering semi-retirement, Jim moved to Ocean Grove (NJ) and accepted a position as Executive Director of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association with day-to-day responsibilities for Operations, Program, Finance and Development. Always having been exposed to the entertainment world, he presented over 200 concerts in the Great Auditorium, featuring top-name concert artists in the fields of pop, classical, big bands, opera, gospel and country music. His proudest moment as a concert promoter was in 1994, the 100th anniversary of the Great Auditorium, when Jim re-created the famous 1938 Benny Goodman concert at Carnegie Hall. The Great Auditorium was packed with jazz enthusiasts from the tri-state area offering thunderous applause throughout this awesome performance by the finest group of big band musicians ever assembled.
Soon after becoming Executive Director of the Camp Meeting Association, Lindemuth learned of his Ocean Grove legacy. His grandfather, a noted Methodist minister, preached Camp Meeting Week here in 1915. Later, he discovered that his great-grandfather, also a longtime Methodist clergyman, preached Camp Meeting in Ocean Grove in 1886.
The Lindemuth family came to this country from Germany in 1752. Colonel Johann Michael Lindemuth served with General George Washington and General Lafayette in the Revolutionary War and the French and Indian War where he was hailed as a hero by George Washington.
With a lifelong interest in Early American and English antiques, Jim assembled numerous collections, including one of the finest collections of century-old miniature oil lamps in the country, which were publicized in numerous antiques publications and in the New York newspapers.
His vast collection of Ocean Grove memorabilia, which included souvenir china and glass, ephemera, pottery, sterling silver, photos, stereoviews, postcards, advertising, novelties, paperweights, police and fire badges is currently on display at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove, where for many years Jim volunteered his services in publicity and advertising. He also promoted numerous Postcard & Paper Shows for the Historical Society and assisted with their auctions and other special events.
Following retirement from the Camp Meeting Association in 1996, Jim decided to take on still another "career" and chose to become a Postcard Dealer specializing in New Jersey antique and vintage postcards. Having accumulated such a large collection of New Jersey views, he went on to sell at postcard and antiques shows, working over 25 shows each year in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
He served and belonged to many clubs and professional organizations, including the Advisory Council of the Office of New Jersey Business Tourism Development, the New Jersey Television & Motion Picture Commission, Trustee of State of New Jersey Tourism Council, State of New Jersey Travel & Resort Association (Vice President), Monmouth & Ocean County Development Council (MODC), Monmouth County (Mayors) Beach Erosion Committee, Rotary Club of Asbury Park (past president & recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award for community service), Reciprocity Club (past president), Toastmasters International Club (past president), Zeta Psi National Fraternity, Historical Society of Ocean Grove, New Jersey Jazz Society, Ephemera Society of America, National Stereoptican Society, Northeastern Spoon Collectors Guild and American Spoon Collectors Forum, Night Light Miniature Lamp Collectors Club, Jersey Shore Antique Bottle Club, International Federation of Postcard Dealers, American Federation of Musicians, Directors Guild of America, New York Advertising Club, Jersey Shore Postcard Club, Garden State Postcard Club, South Jersey Postcard Club, Central Jersey Deltiological Society, Washington Crossing Postcard Club, Lehigh Valley Postcard Club (PA), and the New York Metro Postcard Club. He was also a member of Atonement Lutheran Church, Wyomissing (PA) and St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Ocean Grove (NJ).
Throughout his personal life and career, Jim worked with and befriended many celebrities in the fields of art, television, music, entertainment, opera, government, antiques, sports and corporate America. Among them were Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Arthur Godfrey, John Daly, Bob Keeshan (Capt. Kangaroo), Bill Cullen, renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, baseball legend Cornelius "Connie" Mack, noted sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, TV's Ed McMahon (Jim lunched with McMahon twice weekly in New York before he moved on to the West Coast with Johnny Carson), noted CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, comedian Don Knotts, TV panelists Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf and Arlene Francis, Metropolitan Opera stars Jerome Hines and Rosiland Elias, band leader Skitch Henderson, golf great Byron Nelson, Indianapolis "500" winner Bill Holland, Norman Vincent Peale, Leon Hess, Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, major league baseball stars Carl Furillo, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Whitey Kurowski, St. Louis Cardinals, auto thrill show performer Joey Chitwood, and movie actress Margaret O'Brien. In addition, Jim crossed paths with and knew nearly every big band leader and big band vocalist in the 1940's, 50's, 60's.
He loved all forms of music (jazz, swing, classical, opera, ballet and Broadway musicals) and all sports. He had been an early fan of the then Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the New York football Giants. He was also an avid bridge player and respected antiques dealer.
Jim always greeted everyone with a smile and a handshake, and with courtesy and respect. He was endowed with high energy and a lifelong love of learning. In a sense, he was ageless and kept turning new corners and beating down new paths on the way to redefining himself. Jim had a kind, gentle manner and his positive attitude, enthusiasm and optimistic outlook on life were evident in every field he chose to follow. Jim lived his life doing what he wanted to do. He enjoyed his work and always had fun doing it. Jim will be missed by those he touched throughout his proud life and career.
Jim was predeceased by his father, Edmund Karcher Lindemuth; his mother, Wilhelmina James Lindemuth; and his brother, Edmund Karcher Lindemuth, Jr., MD. He leaves behind his wife, Lynn Fenton Lindemuth, and former wife, Maxine Seidel Lyle; his son, James Douglas Lindemuth, Jr., his wife Leah Stackpole Lindemuth, and their daughters, Caroline and Grace of New York City; his daughter, Kimberly Stuart Nicastri, her husband Tom Nicastri, and their daughters, Olivia and Ann of Larchmont, NY; his stepdaughter, Terri King and her husband Sanford Brodsky, Shark River Hills, Neptune; and his stepson, Robert King and his wife Lynda King, Galloway Township.
Family, friends and relatives are invited to attend visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 at the Ocean Grove Memorial Home, 118 Main Ave., Ocean Grove. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Ocean Grove. Interment and graveside services will be 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 1 at the Lindemuth family plot, Charles Evans Cemetery, 1119 Centre Ave., Reading, PA. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Jim's name to the Historical Society of Ocean Grove, 50 Pitman Ave., Ocean Grove; the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, 54 Pitman Ave., Ocean Grove; or St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 80 Embury Ave., Ocean Grove. To e-mail a condolence message, please visit www.OceanGroveMemorialHome.com.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Jan. 24, 2013