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Longtime Sun-Times columnist Stella Foster to retire

Essee Kupcinet(left) her husbIrv Suntimes columnist arrive Fairmont Hotel where both them were honored by Chicago Academy Arts for their

Essee Kupcinet(left) and her husband Irv, Suntimes columnist, arrive at the Fairmont Hotel where the both of them were honored by the Chicago Academy of the Arts for their untireing devotion to the school. With them in the picture are ( l to r) the Kupcinet's son Jerry Kupcinet ,Angel Harvey, Stella Foster, Kup's admin asst, Paul Harvey, radio commentator and Brad Kriser grandson-in-law to the Kupcinet's . ( Bob Black-Suntimes)

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Updated: August 22, 2012 6:17AM

Stella Foster, the often blunt-speaking Sun-Times columnist known for punctuating her pieces with “Yeah I said it,” announced Friday she’s retiring after nearly 43 years at the paper.

“You know I’ve been at the paper for four decades or more and I’ve been on deadline all my life,” she said. “I’m leaving because it’s time to leave. ... I’m retiring to relax and enjoy myself.”

She notified Sun-Times newsroom management Friday that her last day will be Aug. 6th.

Reflecting on her years at the paper, she said: “I write what I care about most about — about the common, everyday man that’s trying to make it out here.”

She added, “I like talking about black-on-black crime, that [President Barack] Obama needs to get up and speak out about it. These are the things I take the most joy and pride in,” she said.

Born in Chicago and raised in the Englewood community, she attended Chicago’s public schools. In August 1969 Foster’s sister, Jamie Foster Brown, told her that the legendary Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet was looking for a new secretary. She interviewed for the job and got it.

For 34 years, Stella was Kup’s assistant as well as his confidante, she has said. As his health deteriorated, she took over the bulk of the writing duties and was given a byline at the end of the column. Since his death in 2003, she has penned “Stella’s Column,” which she frequently signed off with “Well, that’s Stella in the City!”

In 2011, Foster was honored with the Chicago Journalists Association’s lifetime achievement award. The group called Foster a “consummate journalist. . . . She knows what makes Chicago tick.”

“Stella has been a wonderful part of the Sun-Times family for more than four decades,” Sun-Times Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk said. “Her column, her incredible connection to the community will be greatly missed. But we also understand her desire to retire and wish her nothing but success and happiness going forward.”

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