Gladys La Trelle James born on the 5th of March 1926 in Elgin, Texas, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, the 8th of June 2011 in Houston, Texas. She is predeceased by her parents, Clarbon and Loma Bryant, husband, W. A. James Sr., sisters Mable Harvey, Erma Williams, Thelma Deary and brother, Clarbon Bryant.
She is survived by her daughter, La Trelle Denise James and sons, W. A. James Jr. and his wife Nina, Kenneth A. James and wife Cynthia. Surviving also are her grandchildren, Bryan Washington, Austin James, Courtney James, Christopher James, Cameron James and Cramer James.
At the age of 16 with a desire to be an educator, she enrolled in Prairie View A & M University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics. After graduation, Gladys was introduced to a young man by her sister Thelma. She married this young man on August 1, 1950. The son of a minister, W. A. James and Gladys settled in San Antonio, Texas. Soon after marriage Gladys began her teaching career. She was hired by Edgewood Independent School District, signing a one year contract on September 18, 1953 at an annual salary of $3,021.53. Gladys taught junior high school until 1969 when she was named Vice Principal of Roosevelt Elementary.
W. A. moved the family to Houston in 1971 where he began his career with Continental Airlines. W. A., Gladys and the three children settled in Kingwood, a suburban community of Houston. Gladys, after 18 years in Edgewood District, signed a contract to teach at Humble Independent School District's, Humble Elementary, first as a second grade teacher then later moving to fourth grade.
In the early 1980's, Gladys supported her husband's decision to become an entrepreneur. Together they started La Trelle's and in 1985 they opened their first retail location. Gladys lost W. A., with his passing, in 1989 after 38 years of marriage. Led by Gladys, still teaching, the family persevered and today the business has over 20 locations across Texas and as far away as Seattle, Washington.
After over 50 years as an educator, Gladys retired from teaching. She spent over 30 years at Humble Elementary spanning two generations of students. During this period she received many accolades including Teacher of the Year. To her, the respect she received from her students helped her make them the best they could be. This is what was most important to her.
Gladys' joy in life was her grandchildren. She spent a considerable amount of time in their support.
The family would like to thank the numerous caregivers and the staff at the Forum on Post Oak for their care of Gladys. The family would also like to thank the many friends Gladys had over the years at Humble Elementary. Humble "L" as it is called was very special to her.
Visitation will be Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 10:00am with Funeral service to follow at 11:00am at Christian Life Center, 6650 Rankin Road, Humble, Texas 77396. Christian Life Center's phone number is 281-319-0077. The interment will follow immediately in Brookside Memorial Park. The Brookside phone number is 281-449-6511.
In lieu of the customary remembrances, the family requests, with complete thanks, that memorial contributions be made in Gladys' name to Humble Elementary School, 20252 Field Tree, Humble, Texas 77338.
"Good teachers teach, Great teachers inspire, Gladys was the latter."
Published in Houston Chronicle on June 16, 2011