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November 16, 1951 - June 13, 2023


David Robert Kukulski - Obituary

    by Lindsey Kukulski (daughter)

Tribute from Preston English

    Friend and Business Associate

Tribute from Donnie Nelson

    Friend and Business Associate

Tribute from Susan (Hilton) Ashcraft

    Family Friend

Tribute from Chuck Fisher

    Friend and Former Classmate

Tribute from Dennis Ackerman

    Friend and Business Associate

Tribute from Mike McNeil

    Friend and Business Associate

Tribute from Tyler Dunkel

    Friend and Business Associate

Tribute from Tiffany Ybarra Martin


Tribute from David Jackson

    Friend and Business Associate

Tribute from Kimberly Ybarra Oddonetto


Tribute from Dan Metcalf

    Friend and Former Roommate

Tribute from Sherrill Lee

    Employee and Adoptive Daughter

Tribute from Sarah Stock Laird


Tribute from Ron Clark

    Friend and Business Associate

Memorial Speech from Andrew Kukulski

    Son and Publishing Partner



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A Father and A Son

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I’ve written a lot of heartfelt words about my father, David Kukulski, since his passing. I’m sure there will be many more words in the years to come. However, this is the place where I’d like to attempt to honor his lifetime of work. Both within my effort to continue that work with the integrity and determination he spent a lifetime teaching me by example, and also within this memorial I’ve built to preserve a little piece of what he meant to the people in his life.


When I think of my father’s work during my childhood, in the early to mid 1980s and beyond, I think of our dinner table covered with poster board for publication layouts and other program-related papers. Or getting up late at night for a glass of water and seeing his desk lamp shining as he continued typing away on his old Macintosh SE. I remember program boxes stacked outside of our front door in our driveway, the overwhelming smell of ink coming off of the printers at Ben Franklin Press, waking up early on New Year’s Day to go pick up the Fiesta Bowl programs with my Dad, and shouting “Programs!” at ASU football games until I almost couldn’t speak anymore. 


I did not have what most people would think of as an ordinary childhood, but I wouldn’t trade the one I had for anything in the world.


My father started working as a publisher before I was born. He was a lifelong sports fan and especially a lifelong Sun Devil. He loved ASU all the way back into his own childhood, trying to pickup games on the radio out on the Native American reservations in rural Arizona where he grew up. There were also the rare occasions he lived for as a kid when his father would drive them into Phoenix to go see a game. When his family eventually moved to Phoenix, he would even get in weekly fights with his mother on Sundays over whether he was allowed to run home from church to catch the second half of whatever football game was being televised that week. He won those fights about half the time.


When it came time for my father to go to college, there wasn’t any doubt where he wanted to go. He studied broadcasting in college at ASU, and envisioned himself going into radio. Following a dream of becoming a sports broadcaster. But after a few failed attempts, he decided to reevaluate and redirect his efforts. As a young man with a young family, trying to build a career somewhere within the ecosystem of the sports he loved, he eventually took a chance on a career in publishing. Initially writing for existing local sports magazines and then eventually going into business with Barry Sollenberger. A national sports historian, publishing partner, and friend whose love of sports rivaled my father’s and whose knowledge of sports surpassed his. 


They started Saguaro Sports Publications together and did most of their collaborative work under this banner. Barry still pursued his own individual projects outside of Saguaro Sports, including his annually-anticipated Phoenix Metro Football Magazine and his local sports record books. My father started an additional company, called Kukulski & Associates. This would be the banner under which he would pursue his individual publishing and sales relationships with Arizona State University and other universities throughout the western United States, the Fiesta Bowl, the Arizona Interscholastic Association, and local high schools among many other clients throughout his career. 


It’s because of my father’s work that I grew up predominantly running around the ASU sports facilities as a young kid. Watching the second half of football home games with my dad, after we’d finished selling programs. Running around the basketball arena, getting my face painted, raiding the concession stand, helping to sell programs and finding various other ways to occupy myself while my parents worked. Sneaking into the batting cage at Packard Stadium or wrestling with my brother on the high jump mats at Sun Angel Stadium until we would get caught by security. I was never really into sports, but it didn’t matter. My dad found ways to make these experiences fun for his rambunctious kids while he spent those decades of my youth running a publishing business largely on his own. He always found ways to include us and to make time for his family. No matter how hard he had to work.


It wasn’t until I was starting a family myself in the year 2000 that my father switched gears and started a new company with his brother Dan. Incorporating my his high school sports publishing relationships and building from them, the two of them built Kukulski Brothers primarily as a high school championship souvenir business from the ground up. My father functioned as Company President and Head of Publications while my Uncle Dan was our Director of Sales. Titles they would each carry for more than two decades until their respective passings. I began working for them full-time in late 2001.


They both oversaw our growing operations in those early days. Things were smaller and simpler then. Although, as the company grew, they eventually brought in my Uncle Larry, my mother (Pam Kukulski), and my Aunt Debbie as co-owners to share the company’s leadership responsibilities. While my father’s decades of prior business experience were instrumental in forming the foundations of Kukulski Brothers, it would not have grown into what it has become without the hard work of all of its owners and numerous employees over the years. A business that has strived to bring quality souvenirs and keepsakes to the competitors, families, and fans at the championship events and invitational tournaments we’ve been fortunate to be a part of over the years. As well as several long and meaningful relationships with our corporate clients.


Kukulski Publishing is a place my father and I built to be a designated home for our publishing work. I remember being that kid sitting at that table amidst my father’s layout boards, watching him type away into all hours of the night, and seeing him turn that effort into something you could touch and read. I remember his booming voice, regularly echoing the word “Programs!” off of the walls of countless arenas as he sold them. I remember thinking that I wanted to work with my Dad someday. I could never have imagined that I would actually get the chance to do it. Let alone for more than two decades of my life. Years that are now more precious to me than they’ve ever been. 


In his last months, I remember one tearful moment we shared when I told him that I was proud of the work we had done together. He said the same. In his last weeks, even as I necessarily took on sole responsibility for our publications in the spring of 2023, he was still always asking me for updates on how things were going. “How are we doing on the programs, Andy?” I was grateful to be able to update him on the progress of each of our publications and set his mind at ease that I had it under control. 


These publications were the work of his career. A major part of the devoted effort of his life. I am honored to have been a part of that effort, side by side with him. I keep him in my heart as I do my best to carry this effort on beyond him into whatever the future may hold. I love you, Dad.


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