Veteran of the Month: Jim Cullip

By Milan Eagle Media

Jim Cullip, who served as the Milan Area Chamber President in 1975, has been designated our Veteran of the Month.  Jim, joined the U.S. Navy in 1955 and served through 1959.  He took his basics at Great Lakes, followed by sub school in New London, CT.  He served on the submarine U.S.S. Chivo 341, as an EM2SS (Electrician Mate 2nd Class.)  Based in Key West, Fl, he and his mates operated with NATO Forces in the Atlantic and North Atlantic, with Scotland being one of their destinations.  Jim served during the cold war period. 
Today, many Veterans who served on the U.S.S. Chivo gather every other year, with Jim’s next reunion planned for fall 2017, in Pensacola, FL.  The submarine was commissioned in 1945 and decommissioned in 1970.  “We even have a couple of the plank owners (those from the first crew), show up and they have to be in their mid 80’s,” he relayed.  Cullip followed a family tradition when he joined the Navy, as his father served in the Navy, as well as his brother who joined in 1946.  “I feel every young man would benefit from serving in the military…it is a form of discipline, and it gets you away from mama’s apron strings.  It is a great experience, that I have never regretted,” he said. 
While home on leave, he happened into the Milan Leader office where he saw Joan. (Now his bride of nearly 58 years!)  She asked him a very pointed question… “You remember who I am don’t you?”  Jim relayed to me, “What was I supposed to say“….as he laughed. “Well of course I remember you!”  Joan offered up a name (not hers) and he said, “SURE.”  She then offered up yet another one of her close friends name….and again he said “SURE.”  “What a cruel way to greet me; … back then the Leader sent newspapers to all the servicemen from Milan, so I was able to read comments Joan wrote on the newspaper to me.  We began to correspond  and shortly after I got out of service, we married.” 
When Jim first came home from the military, he went to schooling for mortuary science, working at the local funeral home. (Then Stevens-Bush)  After working in that field for a year, he realized it wasn’t the career he wanted, so he went into banking.  He retired after 35 years in that industry, serving many years in the Milan branch. 
Jim and his wife, Joan, have been blessed with 3 sons and one daughter.  Their daughter Jennifer, was the first girl born in the Cullip Family in 68 years!  The couple also enjoys 7 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.  The grandchildren live in Harbor Springs, St. Ignace, Dexter and Clinton.
Jim has always given back to his community, serving in the Jaycees, Rotary, the Chamber, Village Planning Commission, and as an elected Milan City Council man for 12 years.  He also served on the Milan Township Planning Commission, The Greater Milan Area Community Foundation and on the Saline Hospital Board for 10 years. 
These days, you can see him enjoying his 2nd love…a 1960 Chevrolet Convertible.  He explained that after he and his wife got jobs, the first car they owned together was this make and model. a lot of great memories went into the finding of one to duplicate it. The Milan Eagle salutes and thanks Jim for his service to our country and our community.

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