Muriel Yvonne (Gassett) James

  • "Mrs. James was the teacher that influenced me most in my..."
    - Daniel Gonsalves
  • "May God remember you when you entered into the kingdom...."
    - Joan Alston
  • "Ms. James was my high school English teacher. She was kind,..."
    - Carla Anene
  • "Donald and Dennis, I just learned of your mother's passing...."
    - Tina Marshall
  • "Donald and Dennis, you know how so very sorry I am to learn..."
    - Valerie Leon Brown

Long-time Sacramento resident Muriel Yvonne Gassett James, loving mother, grandmother and friend passed away quietly in her sleep on August 26 at her home. She was 88. She is survived by her two sons, Donald and Dennis James, daughter-in-law Tanya, and two grandchildren, Brandon and Shawna. Muriel was reared and educated in Atlanta where she attended the First Congregational Church and graduated from Spelman College, a historic black women's college. She went on to Middlebury College in Vermont where she earned a Master's degree in French. At Middlebury, she met and married another student, Charles James (1922-2006). Muriel accompanied Charles when he went to Yale law school. After his graduation in the early 1950s the young couple drove across country to California, settling first in Sacramento and later in Stockton, where Charles established a private law practice. Muriel gave birth to three sons. The eldest, Charles Jr., died tragically at age 3. The family returned to Sacramento in 1962 when Charles joined the California State Attorney General's Office. Two years later Charles accepted an administrative position in Ghana with the newly established Peace Corps. After her marriage ended in 1965, Muriel returned to Sacramento with her two sons to begin her long teaching career. She taught English and French, first at Las Palmas Junior High and then at Grant Union High School. She loved her students and fellow educators. After retiring in 1989, Muriel enjoyed a life of duplicate bridge, socializing with her many friends, and spending time with her sons and her two grandchildren. Muriel was a lifetime member of the NAACP and maintained close contact with her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters and numerous friends and relatives across the country. She half-jokingly declared that she didn't want to get too oldthat when it was "her time" she just wanted to go to sleep for the night and not wake up. That is exactly what she did. Her final gift to herself (and her family) was a peaceful transition to Heaven where she rightfully rests in eternal Grace. Though we lost a loving and devoted mother, grandmother and friend, we rejoice in knowing she is at peace.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Sept. 23, 2017