I vaguely remember meeting Marcella James, my great-grandmother, when I was a young child. She died the summer I was seven years old. I don’t even know that I’ve seen pictures of her, either.
My memory is of visiting her house, where she was lying in a bed. The room was very dark, and I don’t remember her saying much at all. I do remember people telling me that she made me a Raggedy Ann and Andy doll set (which I still have today).
Oddly, while talking to my dad and his older sister last weekend for some family history interviews, they shared a similar story of seeing their Grandma James, who would have been Winifred Mary Pashia James, days before she died in 1957.
Marcella James was born April 25, 1905, in Missouri to Griffith Joseph James and Winifred Mary Pashia James. She was the fourth of seven children, and the fourth daughter. She was raised in Richwoods, Missouri, on a farm, according to census records from 1920.
By 1930, she had married Lester Tyrey, and the couple were living in St. Louis. Their daughter, Kathleen, my grandmother, was born about three years later. I had always thought she was the youngest child, but now I’m not entirely certain.
Marcella died July 23, 1980. She was buried the next day in Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery in St. Louis.
I know little about her life, but hope to learn after some interviews with her surviving daughter, Phyllis and Laura.