CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) _ James H. Shumaker, a journalism professor and veteran newspaperman who was the inspiration for the popular comic strip ``Shoe,'' died Tuesday of cancer. He was 77.

Shumaker had taught since 1973 at the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He also spent more than 50 years in print journalism.

Shumaker served in the Air Force during World War II, was captured by the Germans and spent a year as a prisoner. He later attended the university and began his career as a reporter for the Durham Herald.

He also worked for The Associated Press and later was state editor and managing editor at the Herald. He was editor of the Chapel Hill Newspaper from 1959 to 1973, except for a brief stint at the Boca Raton (Fla.) News.

He also wrote a weekly column for the Charlotte Observer for more than 20 years. An anthology of the columns, entitled ``Shu,'' was published in 1989.

Chicago Tribune cartoonist Jeff MacNelly based P. Martin Shoemaker, the cranky, cigar-chomping boss of the Treetops Tattler in ``Shoe, on Shumaker _ his former boss. MacNelly died earlier this year.

Shumaker is survived by his wife; nine children; four grandchildren and one great-grandson.