James William Klump, (1949-2021) resident of Amsterdam and owner of Scotia Wines & Spirits in the Village of Scotia, died at St. Mary's Hospital on Wednesday shortly after being stricken at home. He was 71 years old. Born in Amsterdam on March 15, 1949, Jim was the first child of Harold and Lillian (Uminski) Klump. He grew up on Market Hill and attended Wilbur H. Lynch High School, where he starred for the Hilltoppers as a center, punter, and placekicker on the football team, and graduated in 1966. Jim went on to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, serving as president of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and graduating in 1970 with a BS in industrial engineering. In the summer of 1969, Jim consulted as a civil engineer on the construction of the Amsterdam Highrise, which remains the tallest building in his hometown. Jim continued his education at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, where he studied marketing under several Nobel Laureates, including Milton Friedman, Merton Miller, and George Stigler, and earned his MBA in 1972. He then went on to enjoy a successful career working for several corporations, including Exxon, Touche Ross, and Kennecott in New York City, and later for Heritage Media in Connecticut. In 1991, as the CIO of Actmedia, a subsidiary of Heritage Media, he helped pioneer the industry of in-store marketing. He would later take his retail marketing expertise to TradeDimensions, where he helped launch a revolutionary industry database called TDLinx. Along the way, Jim married his college sweetheart, Kathleen Sutley of Maywood, NJ, in 1971. They settled in Morris County, NJ, but divorced soon thereafter. In 1976, while working in New York City, he met Barbara Lahm, who was working as an executive secretary at Rockefeller Center. They were married in 1979 and moved to Stamford, CT, the following year. Barbara and Jim had two sons, Christopher in 1981 and Jason in 1983, and in 1984 the family moved to Wilton, CT, where they lived together for the next ten years. Jim and Barbara enjoyed traveling together, especially to Europe, the Caribbean, and New Orleans for the Jazz Festival. They also spent two weeks each summer in Cape Cod on family vacations with their children. Although he and Barbara separated in 1994, Jim remained in the Wilton area and fostered strong bonds with his sons. He resigned from corporate work in 1995 to dedicate more time to them, most notably as a youth baseball coach for both Chris and Jason's teams and on weekend outings to New Haven Ravens baseball games and Yale University hockey games. Following his second son's high school graduation, Jim moved back to Amsterdam to live with his aging mother and decided to go into business for himself. In 2006, he purchased the liquor store on Mohawk Avenue in Scotia and rebranded it as Scotia Wines & Spirits. Seeking to introduce New World wines to the Capital Region, he traveled to South America in 2008 to tour over a dozen wineries in Chile and Argentina and brought several new and unique products to his market. The business has since thrived, eventually moving to its current, larger location near the Western Gateway Bridge in 2016. Patient but demanding, nurturing but forever rational and practical, Jim was an exceptional businessman, father, and mentor. He always led by example and deeply influenced not only his two sons throughout their lives, but also their friends, his co-workers, and, in the latter chapters of his life, his stepsons. In 2009, following a life-threatening car accident and facing several months of rehabilitation, Jim was befriended by Kate Sullivan, a regular customer at his store, who encouraged and inspired him back to health. He and Kate would eventually marry in 2015. Kate's three sons adopted Jim as a father figure and provided him with a vital and loving support system, both at home and at work. Their dedication to Jim is perhaps the truest testament to his legacy. Jim is survived by his wife, Katherine Sullivan; sons, Christopher Klump of Bethlehem, PA, and Jason Klump of Jacksonville, VT; stepson, Carter Sullivan-Irwin, and stepdaughter-in-law, Elizabeth Irwin, of Rotterdam, NY; and stepsons Connor Sullivan-Irwin and Christopher Sullivan-Irwin of Glenville, NY. He will also be lovingly missed by his sister, Susan Amoroso, and brother-in-law, Tony, of Fayetteville, GA, and by his niece, Natalie Goldstrohm, and nephew-in-law, Evan, of Abilene, TX. Private services will be held at the Betz, Rossi, Bellinger & Stewart Funeral Home in Amsterdam, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either of Jim's alma maters in honor of his love of knowledge and devotion to lifelong learning.
Published in The Daily Gazette Co. on Feb. 22, 2021.