Evelyn Marie Messer James, born March 29, 1931, entered eternal rest peacefully in her home at Estate LaGrange, Frederiksted, surrounded by family on Thursday, June 16, at the age of 91. She was the tenth of 12 children born to Carl and Catherine Messer of Estate Annaly, and the widow of Gustav A. James Sr.
Mrs. James, an alumna of George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and Pace University, New York, was first and foremost a wife, mother, homemaker, and an excellent seamstress. She retired from the Government of the Virgin Islands after 25 years of service, ending her career as the Territorial Senior Health Plan Developer.
Mrs. James and her late husband, Gustav A. James, Sr., were founders of the committee to restore the Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel at Estate Montpellier. She was owner of Carl-Michael’s Clothing and Fabric Boutique in Frederiksted for 12 years. Being a proud daughter of the soil, she was extremely happy with her work at Our Town Frederiksted Inc., where she served as Executive Director and worked tirelessly to fulfill the mission of revitalizing her beloved town. She was an elected member of the Virgin Islands Board of Elections for many years. She was a founding member of the St. Croix chapter of the Business and Professional Women (BPW) organization.
The Royal Palm grove that graces LaGrange was Evelyn Messer James’ final project. She successfully sprouted and planted more than 1,000 Royal Palm trees which now stand tall and majestic as she was.
She was preceded in death by her parents: Carl Augustus Messer (1890-1971) and Catherine Battiste Messer (1892-1967); husband: Gustav A. James Sr. (1919-1983); siblings: Alvin, Eileen, Lionel, Christian, Charles, Gerald, Crecencia, Leona, Ann-Eliza, and Christian V. Messer; son, Kevin I. G. James; grandsons: Hasani Fitzgerald and Zion James; sons-in-law: Tyrone R. Hecker and Sultan Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya.
She is survived by her sister, Clarissa Messer Petersen; daughters: Magnolia Fitzgerald, Erna Lynch, Grete “Patsy” Garcia, Laurel Hecker and Jennifer Njoya; sons: Winfield G. James, Gustav A. James, Wayne A. G. James J.D. and Carl Michael James; sons-in-law: John M. Lynch and Kwame Garcia Sr.; daughters-in-law: Mary M. Dupigny and Ashley Gray; special family friend: Dr. Gilbert Sprauve; granddaughters: Vinya Lynch Agbor, Tracy Lynch Bhola, Esq., Oceana James, Layla Hecker Thompson, Sharifa Garcia, Luanda Garcia Chamberlain, Dominique James, Savannah A. James, Kennedy James, Mikhala James, Ciera James, Ashanti James and Aaliyah James
She is also survived by grandsons: Chinua Jn-Baptiste, Nkosi James, Jelani James, Khalfani Garcia, Nassor James, Gustavo Garcia, M.D., Karlton S. James, William D. James, Matthew D. James, Faisal Umaru, Nile James, Kwame Garcia Jr., Khalil James, Carl Michael ‘CJ’ James Jr. Cambridge James and Ajani James; nieces and nephews: Anna C. Thompson, Aminah Saleem, Joan Felix, Wanda Morris, Valerie Petersen, Violet Petersen, Corrine Milligan, Catherine ‘Cathy’ Messer, Anthony Messer, Lionel A. Messer Jr., Almeric Messer, Christian Messer and Sheldon Messer; great -granddaughters: Kelsey Bhola, Alexandra Bhola, Savannah Jn-Baptiste, Nyoka Jn-Baptiste, Chloe Jn-Baptiste, Siani James, Ava Encarnacion, Amaya Faith Garcia, Isla James, Nova James and Summer Chamberlain; great-grandsons: Sterling Gaston, Nkush Jayden James, Christian Agbor, Chagus Agbor, Tafari Jn-Baptiste, Sekhem James, Makonnen James, Aqil James-Umaru, Khamari James, Yeshaia James and Eros James; great-great-grandchild: Elena Bonilla; grandsons-in-law: Krisendat Bhola, Christian Agbor Esq. and Matthew Chamberlain;
Other survivors inlclude special great nephew, Michael Thompson; nieces and nephews-in-law: Odetta Simmons, Samantha Holliday, Faye Boschulte, Valarie James, Renee Matta, Rudine Williams, Gertrude Allen, Juliet James, Judith James, Sherlene Jones, Arthur Petersen Jr., Deron James, Otto James Jr., Jason James, Ivan ‘Ponco’ James, Ivan ‘Canito’ James, Elmo James, Anthony James, Taj James, Ivan I. James, Kai Otto James, Hugh James, Halvor James, Olando James; numerous great-nephews, great-nieces, great-great nephews, great-great nieces, and a couple of great-great-great nephews; caregivers: Millicent Miller, Christine Mitchel and Cynthia Rigobert; as well as other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on July 7, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI. Viewing: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Service: 10:30 a.m. Interment will be at St. Patrick Catholic Church Graveyard, Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI.
Professional funeral services entrusted to James Memorial Funeral Home Inc.