Jim Killackey

June 13, 1948September 7, 2018

James A. “Jim” Killackey, a longtime education, health and medical reporter for The Oklahoman, died Friday at age 70.

Killackey joined the newspaper in January 1973 and earned more than 60 local, state and national writing awards during a distinguished 35-year career. In 2005, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Killackey is well remembered in education circles for his coverage of the 1990 teachers’ strike that culminated with the passage of House Bill 1017, a school reform measure that resulted in smaller class sizes and expanded early childhood education opportunities for 4- and 5-year-olds. “Jim approached writing with a passion and was particularly enthusiastic about any story that had the potential to protect Oklahomans from harm,” said Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news and information for The Oklahoman. Killackey won awards for writing about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, long before it reached the epidemic levels of today, and for informing readers about kicking the tobacco habit. His passion for protecting Oklahomans didn’t end with his October 2008 retirement. After leaving the staff, Killackey continued to write contract stories for The Oklahoman that often focused on protecting senior citizens from scams. A Ford Foundation fellow in education reporting in 1976, Killackey was president of the National Education Writers Association in 1987-1988. He also served as president of the OU Journalism Alumni board. A native of Chicago, Killackey served as managing editor of the Oklahoma Daily while working on his master's degree at the University of Oklahoma. He began his journalism career with the Tulsa Tribune in 1971 and served in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Survivors include: wife Karen; sons Ryan and Regan; sister Rita; brother Robert and six grandchildren.

Services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at First Christian Church in Edmond.


  • Ryan Killackey
  • Regan Killackey
  • Brent Killackey
  • Taylor Killackey
  • Jake Knight
  • Aiden Killackey
  • Darby Killackey
  • Scout Killackey
  • Marcus Killackey
  • Zack Knight
  • Holton Johnson


  • Visitation Monday, September 10, 2018
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Jim Killackey

have a memory or condolence to add?

John Greiner

September 10, 2018

When a bunch of reporters would meet at the Classen Grill, Jim made every effort to be there even though he sometimes didn't feel well. At the meeting, Jim always wanted to know how each of us and our families were doing. He would ask that of every one of us who were there. Jim was a great reporter. Jim was a very compassionate person, and that was why he was so interested in writing about teachers, health care and senior citizens. Jim, I will miss you and will think of you often. .Your friend John

Gypsy Hogan

September 10, 2018

When I started at The Oklahoman in 1974, my Irish family got larger — Killackey, McCarthy, Donovan, Shannon, Kelley. It was a fun time with a lot of great comradery. Killackey was the dapper dresser with an even keel and subtle humor, the only one with a wife and kids. However, he became the one who really kept in touch with everyone through the years and kept me up to date on others. He will be greatly missed as a professional and a friend. Love to his family.

Vivian Vahlberg

September 10, 2018

So sorry to learn of Jim’s passing. What a delightful fellow, friendly colleague and fine journalist.

Jackie Wilkinson

September 9, 2018

Jim always made everyone feel welcome. A very good smartman. He will be missed by many. My condolences and love to you Karen and your family.

Carol Wolta Blackstone

September 9, 2018

Remembering all the summer beach times with the Killackey kids and the Wolta girls in Chicago. Leona & Bob, Albie & Ed, fun in the sun. Jim, the youngest, always the fun one. We feel blessed to have known him and are truly saddened by his passing.

Trish Emig

September 9, 2018

Those of us who were Jim's colleagues and worked along side him as we advocated for vulnerable, older Oklahomans, will find a vacant spot in our advocacy efforts as we go forward. Jim was a member of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature, and recently had communicated with several of us regarding our upcoming biennial event. Jim was excited to begin the research on the bills that the OSHL would adopt during the event, and then, propose to Legislators in the Oklahoma's 2019 legislative session. As in the past, Jim was going to write an article about the adopted bills, and submit the article to the Oklahoman. Jim had a spirit and tenacity that demanded our respect and attention. I shall miss him.

Jan Jewell

September 9, 2018

Our families spent time together - especially in summer as our boys were growing up. White Water, picnics, ball games. Karen was in charge of Camp Killackey. Always had activities planned. Baked great chocolate chip cookies and brownies. I was the comedy. Maybe good for bringing grapes & drinks. My husband, Kirk, was the efficiency expert. And Jim was the philosopher. With his dry sense of humor - he could manage to look pretty serious even if he was joking. Such a good man. Loved his wife and his boys. Never got too ruffled by much of anything. Thought Shane (our youngest son) was hilarious. Would always shake his head, “Oh, Shanie.” It is a joy to have the memories of those summers to look back on and to have shared with such a loving family.

Bill Fogleman

September 9, 2018

So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s family.

Bill and Glenda Fogleman
Edmomd, OK

Kimberly Burk

September 8, 2018

I’m so sorry you have lost Jim. I’m so grateful to have been his co-worker and friend. He always looked forward to Fridays because that was date night with his bride!

Misty Zachary

September 8, 2018

May God bring you peace and comfort during this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and you family.
Misty and Ezra Zachary❤