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Jean Claire James was born Jan. 27, 1930 in Canandaigua, NY, and spent her youth with her family in upstate New York until she graduated from Elmira's Southside High School in 1947. She then joined the Waves, the Women of the United States Navy, where she met her enlisted husband Charles Lee James. Both of Jean and Charles' children were soon born abroad in Bremerhaven, Germany. The family was subsequently stationed in Puerto Rico, England, the Azores Islands, Alaska and Canada. After the kids were grown and gone, Jean and Charles settled in Arlington, Virginia. Along the way, Jean had developed an interest in Duplicate Bridge, a game which would become a lifelong passion. While still living in Arlington, Jean earned the requisite points playing Bridge to became a Silver Life Master.
After her husband and son passed away, she moved to Green Valley to be nearer to her daughter. Jean loved Green Valley, relishing in the weather, good neighbors and the opportunity to play bridge often through GVR. She credited the tough strategy of the game with her swift recovery from a series of first strokes in 2008. She faced other health challenges in her life including breast cancer, multiple losses of loved ones and finally her own death on March 16, 2013 from complications of stroke, just like she had lived her life: with independence, dignity and grace.
Jean is survived by one daughter, Valarie James; god-daughters Mayra and Olyvia Vale; grandchildren, Seth, Spencer and Samara; numerous great-grandchildren; and her beloved Bichon, Lulu. Jean will be dearly missed by friends and bridge partners.
There will be an open Memorial gathering at Friends In Deed in Green Valley on Wednesday, March 27, 1 to 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to Friends In Deed will be gratefully accepted at the Memorial or sent to: 301 W. Camino Casa Verde, Green Valley, AZ 85614.
Published in Green Valley News & Sun on Mar. 24, 2013