CASTINE – Deborah S. Pulliam, 54, whose family owned The Indianapolis Star for more than 50 years, died of cancer Tuesday, May 22, 2007, at her home. Pulliam, whose passion for all things natural and simple led her to a life away from the family business and into a world of textiles, arts and crafts, was a writer for several newspapers and former editor of the Casting Patriot weekly in Castine, in the late ’80s. “She didn’t want to follow in the exact same footsteps as the rest of the family, but she wanted to write,” said Indianapolis Star page designer, Janet Fry Schneider, a close friend and classmate of Pulliam’s. Sharon Bray of Orland, near Castine, worked for Pulliam at The Patriot. “She was a darn good editor,” Bray said. “She was somewhat of a perfectionist. Very direct and demanding. And sometimes downright grumpy. “But at least you didn’t have to figure out what she wanted because she let you know exactly what she wanted. I learned so much from her, and she was very influential in helping me start my own newspaper.” Pulliam also wrote for the Lebanon Reporter and several newspapers in southeastern Virginia. She also freelanced for various publications. In addition to leading workshops on textiles and spinning, Pulliam was historian and regular contributor to Piecework magazine, a needlework publication. She was also pursuing a master’s degree in material culture from the University of Maine. “She was passionate about needlework and knitting and the history behind it,” said Jeane Hutchins, who edited Pulliam’s copy for nine years as editor-in-chief. “Her passion showed through in her writing.” Born June 2, 1952, in Indianapolis, Deborah was the youngest of three children of the late Eugene S. Pulliam, former publisher of The Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis News, and his wife, the former Jane Bleecker. Her brother, Russell B. Pulliam is an associate editor at The Star. Her sister, Myrta J. Pulliam is The Star’s director of special projects. “Growing up with Deb was a lot of fun,” Russell said. “She often made me feel important as her older brother, whether I was or not.” The children’s grandfather, Eugene C. Pulliam, was owner and publisher of The Star and The News from the 1940s until his death in 1975. The Pulliam Co., Central Newspapers Inc., which included The Star and The News, The Arizona Republic and other Indiana newspapers, was acquired by Gannett Co., in 2000. After the family’s journalism tradition, Pulliam became yearbook editor at Tudor Hall School, now Park Tudor School, and contributed to the school’s literary magazine. “She always made me laugh,” recalled Toni Goffredo, her yearbook supervisor and one of her teachers. “And she did a good job as the yearbook editor. She was very diligent.” In 1970, Pulliam left Indianapolis to earn a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. After graduation in 1974, she worked at Colonial Williamsburg from 1976 to 1983 as an interpreter craftsperson, specializing in traditional basket weaving. “Baskets are utilitarian and I like them for that reason,” Pulliam said in a 1978 interview with the Daily Press in Newport News, Va. “They are beautiful but they are also tough and useful.” Utilitarian also described Pulliam’s lifestyle. She was a volunteer emergency medical technician “her special calling,” said Russell for the Williamsburg fire department. Friends and family describe her as quiet, private and shy. She lived modestly and never flaunted her wealth. She loved organic food, natural farming and was very much into ecology and living naturally. She cared for wildlife and loved to visit the Indianapolis Zoo. She was on the Hancock County advisory board for the Maine Community Foundation and was an active committee member at the Castine Unitarian Church. “Castine is a very small town and everybody knows everybody,” said the Rev. Mark Worth, who had known Pulliam for 16 years. “But Deb was very private. For example, she was very low-key about her illness. She did not want people to fuss over her.” Pulliam was also charitable, usually donating money anonymously. Worth said Pulliam was “a very generous contributor to our church and for a long time I didn’t know where the money was coming from.” Pulliam was also passionate about baking cookies, and collected and published two cookie recipe books, one titled “Cookies from the Orange Bowl.” She always made her cookies in an old, cracked Fiestaware mixing bowl that belonged to her grandmother. “It had a prominent place in her kitchen and was probably something she treasured more than just about anything,” said Schneider. “When Nana died,” Pulliam wrote in her first recipe book, “one of my aunts asked me if there was anything that I particularly wanted to remember her by. The orange bowl was all I wanted because it somehow still contains the magic and love that surrounded us in her kitchen.” A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at Castine Unitarian Church, Castine. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Indianapolis Zoo and the Maine Community Foundation, 245 Main St., Ellsworth, ME 04605. Interment will be at Castine Cemetery. Arrangements by Mitchell-Tweedie Funeral Home, 28 Elm St., Bucksport.