Jeralene (Jeri) Caldwell James, 95, of Littleton, passed away on Sunday, November 13, 2022.
She was born to Booker T. Caldwell and Faustina Calloway Caldwell on February 1, 1927 in metropolitan Ft. Worth, TX. She grew up in a happy family where she was much loved.
Jeri entered Fisk University in Nashville, TN at the age of sixteen. She received a BA, specializing in French, in approximately 1947 after a full-emersion in French culture experience in Montreal, Quebec. She was still speaking French in the nursing facility to visitors and caregivers. Please do not mispronounce a French word in her presence or you surely would be corrected – especially the word “chocolate” – her favorite flavor. And lest we forget, Jeri was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – same as the first black and first female U.S. Vice President – Kamala Harris. She was extremely proud of that fact!
Jeri worked in administrative and clerical positions throughout her career in government and private industry. Late in life, past the age of 80, she also worked as a part-time beauty associate at Walgreens. Beauty was always important to her. In her younger years, she was a very sharp dresser with her suits, pencil skirts, and high heels. The high heels ruined her feet but even when she was in the nursing home, she still said “It was worth it.” And much to the chagrin of many, she was sure to monitor everyone’s weight.
Jeri was married twice. After her divorce from her first husband, she later married the love of her life –William Henry (Bill) James who passed away in 1987 at 68 years old. Bill affectionately gave her the moniker of “Boss Lady” due to her penchant for controlling everybody and everything around her. Even two weeks before her death, if you wanted to get a smile out of Jeri – just mention Bill whom she described as an “alright” dancer as they used to dance to Johnny Mathis. She still could identify the song “Misty” within the first few bars.
Jeri attended Light of the World Catholic Church for many years. She loved God and even attended Bible College. She was an avid gardener – her special hobby. And she loved to entertain and show off her considerable cooking skills to friends and family. She loved to travel and in her lifetime traveled as far as Alaska and Europe. She also loved music. In addition, to Johnny Mathis she loved Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Just a few weeks ago, we got her to sing along and to clap her hands for a bit.
Jeri and Bill adopted her younger brother, Howard F. James (now deceased), when her mother became incapacitated. Jeri also cared for her mother, Faustina, and her great-grandmother, Lucy, until their deaths.
Jeri is survived by Howard’s children: Nichole James (daughter of Rita James) who was her live-in primary caregiver for many years and Nichole’s three brothers –Sean James, Ethan James, and Trevor James – born to Howard’s second wife – Debbie James. She is survived also by Bill’s nieces and nephew in St. Louis, MO: Monica Feaman, Thelma Jackson and her brother Bill Huston, Carol Whittier, and Judy McDuffie. And we must not forget her beloved Chihauhau, Pepe.
A memorial service will be held at Light of World Catholic Church (10306 W. Bowles Avenue, Littleton, CO) on December 6, 2022, at 10:30 a.m.
The burial is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. at Fort Logan National Cemetery (3698 So. Sheridan Blvd, Denver, CO 80235).
Flowers can be sent through NewcomerDenver.com
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