Donna Lampkin Stephens Tribute to Jim

Donna Lampkin Stephens, Tribute to Jim from Ark. Golfer 1999

When fans would approach Jim Elder in a grocery story to ask if he was the voice of the Arkansas Travelers or the KARN sportscaster, he would respond, “Oh, you’re the one.”

He couldn’t imagine he had many fans.

“He never thought that thousands of people were glued to that radio,” said the Associated Press’ Harry King, a long-time Elder friend. “He never could understand why they’d want to listen.

“He was as unselfish as anybody I’ve met, and in this business, there are a few egos.”

One of Elder’s favorite pastimes was photographing friends, hanging a copy in his KARN office and often giving a copy to the subject.

“He had pictures of everybody,” King said. “Underneath those hanging would be four or five other ones. He would make them everywhere — in the Oaklawn press box and other places. He made pictures of (jockey) Larry Snyder, (handicapper) Kim Brazzel. He would bring a copy back to them the next week and say, ‘I thought you’d like to have this.’”

This writer was one of the lucky ones. As a young golf writer for the Arkansas Gazette, I was in awe of Jim Elder when I met him in the mid-1980s. But he took my photograph, gave me a copy, and made me feel as if I were the celebrity.

He was a jewel, and I miss him very much.

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