Brooklyn church pays glowing tribute to ‘Mother James’

Vincentian-born member Ynolde Mavis James.
Vincentian-born member Ynolde Mavis James.

An East Flatbush, Brooklyn church, whose founder and senior pastor is Jamaican the Rev. Albert Delmadge, has paid glowing tribute to long-standing, Vincentian-born member Ynolde Mavis James, who went to the Great Beyond on May 30. She was 87.

James, renowned as “Mother James” and “Sis. James” to congregants, was ailing for some time and died in her East Flatbush home, according to her youngest sister, Desma Dofflyn King, a retired registered nurse, who helped took care of her during her last stages.

James and her Vincentian-born husband William E. James, who predeceased her 12 years ago, began worshipping, in the 1980s, at Christian Heritage Ministries, an evangelical church, at 4121 Ave. J, according to the church in its tribute, read by Barbadian member Karl Knight, at James’s funeral service on June 8, at Frank J. Barone Funeral Home on Avenue D in Brooklyn.

Sis. James’s eldest grandson, Nekkoro Dennie, reads Scriptures.Photo by Nelson A. King

Knight said that Sis. James and her late husband dressed elegantly and “stood tall in their Sunday best each Sunday.

“With their love for each other and their love for the Lord, they served the Lord hand-in-hand,” he said. “Bro. James busied himself repairing and painting the church; Sis. James delved into other aspects of ministry.

“Sis. James’s talents of sewing and baking were treasured by her friends and church family,” added Knight in reading the church tribute. “On occasional Fridays, she would teach these talents at the youth meeting.”

He said Sis. James was active with the Women’s Ministry, and Prayer and Bible Studies, and “enjoyed teaching Sunday School and interacting with the young children.

“After her retirement, she didn’t know another ministry was being birthed to take care of the new babies that were being born,” Knight said. “She was grandma to many of these young people.

“We were blessed to have Sis. James in our midst,” he added. “Her laughter and perpetual joy will be in our hearts always.”

Knight also said that Sis. James’s role in the church and what she meant to the church family were “immeasurable.”

Rev. Delmadge’s son, Albert III, who officiated during the entire service, described the funeral as “a home-going celebration.”

“Sis. James, Mother James, she loved music,” he said. “When I go (went) to her home, she was singing and playing, and praising God. She played a big role in my life.”

Rev. Delmadge III said while the Jameses were disciplinarian and “were not perfect, they learned to grow.”

He also said that Sis. James ensured that parishioners knew Psalms 23, beginning with “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

In addition, he said Sis. James’s love for God and human kind was exhibited not only “on the outside” but also “on the inside.”

Brooklyn resident Beverley Kirby – who worked with Sis. James at British American Life Insurance Company in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in 1973, before they both migrated – credited Sis. James with finding her first job in New York on Wall Street.

“She was my second mother,” said Kirby in her terse tribute. “There was nothing too good for her to do for me.”

Another grandson, Rashidi Dennie, reads the obituary.Photo by Nelson A. King

According to the obituary, read by Sis. James’s grandson, Rashidi Dennie, Ynolde Mavis James, née Cox, was born on Jun. 24, 1932 in Troumaca, a village along the western coast of mainland St. Vincent, to the late John and Muriel Cox.

She received her early education at the Troumaca Government School, attended the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Teachers’ Training Center at an early age, and was appointed an elementary teacher at the Troumaca Government School. There, she showed the attributes of a “Proverbs 31 woman,” according to the obituary.

“Mavis, as she was called, was always an active person and well-loved in her community,” it says. “She was secretary of the Leading Girls Club, where she taught the young girls (how) to cook, bake, sew and to do all domestic work.

“As a teacher at the Troumaca Government School, she headed the soup kitchen,” it adds.

In 1954, at 22, Sis. James met and married William James, originally from the St. Vincent Grenadines island of Bequia. This union yielded three children: two boys and a girl.

Sis. James worked at British American Life Insurance Company for many years until her eldest son, William, Jr., completed his education at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Boys Grammar School and wanted to pursue further studies, according to the obituary.

In order for him to fulfill his dreams, it says Sis. James migrated to New York, giving up her job in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

On arrival in the US, Sis. James found a job on Wall Street with the American Hull Insurance Syndicate, working in the Accounts Department.

She worked there for many years before retiring to take care of her two grandsons, Nekkoro and Rashidi.

Many parents then asked her to take care of their children, which she did, the obituary states.

“Ynolde was loved by many and showed kindness in several ways,” it says. “One of her greater hallmarks was her generosity, which she demonstrated in many ways.

“She extended that great love to numerous parents and their young children, some of whom are grown men and women today,” it adds. “They still loved and kept in contact with her.”

The Rev. Albert C. Delmadge, III brings the message.Photo by Nelson A. King

Besides William, Jr., Nekerro, Rashidi and Dofflyn King, Sis. James is survived by another son, Fitzgerald, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; daughter, Valcie Dopwell, in New Jersey; another grandson, Shawn; brothers, Alick and Douglas Cox in Georgia, and Vryon Cox in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; sisters, Joan Cox in Queens and Cordelia Omabuwa in Brooklyn; daughter-in-law, Yvette James; son-in-law, Phillip Dopwell; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition, she leaves to mourn special family members and friends, including: Godfrey Dennie; Valrina McLeod and her husband, Tyrone, and their children Elliott and Victoria; Mr. and Mrs. Mario Austin; Walford “Laddie” Walters; Karl Knight; George Henry; and Hugh Ward, among others.

“She was an answer to a pray I had to take care of my son, Elliott, and the Lord directed me to her,” St. Lucian-born Mrs. McLeod told Caribbean Life about the prayer she had 23 years ago.

“And, from that day on, our friendship formed,” added Mrs. McLeod, a close church sister, who lives on the same East Flatbush block as Sis. James. “When I asked for advice, she always gave me the right advice – no matter what.”

Sis. James was interred immediately after the funeral service at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, Suffolk County, Long Is.

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