Clara Ann James


Mrs. Clara Ann Ashby James, 94, passed away Wednesday, March 9, 2022. She was born Jan. 14, 1928, in Shields, Va. She was the daughter of the late Thomas Pettit Ashby and the late Helen Lolita Ames Ashby and lived her entire life on her much-loved Eastern Shore. She was the widow of Francis Coleman James Sr. She attended Farmville State Teachers College, now known as Longwood University, and later operated a private kindergarten for 22 years known as Kiddie Kare Kindergarten. After public schools began incorporating classes for this level, she then taught in the Northampton County Public School System for seven years. Mrs. James has been a longtime member of Franktown United Methodist Church, serving in the United Methodist Women Franktown Church Choir and Church Women United.

Clara Ann was predeceased by her parents, husband, her brother, Thomas Pettit Ashby Jr., and his wife, Rebecca, her sister, Patricia Ames Ashby Robinson, and her husband, Willard, and her daughter, Kate Ashby Gibb.

She is survived by three children: Keziah Gibb Chiles and husband, Mort, of Culpeper, Va., Francis C. James Jr. and wife, Sallie, of Franktown, and Ann Pettit James, of Nassawadox. She is survived by four grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren: Perrin Chiles and wife, Caroline, of Los Angeles, (Harold, Evelyn, Jasper, and Zeena); Kate Ashby Bachta and husband, Michael, of Richmond, (Oliver, Clara Hayes); Coleman James and wife, Katelin, of Nassawadox, (Emerson, Delaney); and Sarah James Arguello and husband, Norman, of Gaithersburg, Md., (Xavier, Maryon, Vivienne).

Clara Ann was blessed to have loving nieces and nephews, as well as wonderful friends from her church and community who meant so much to her.

A celebration of her life was held Monday, March 14, 2022, at 11 a.m., at Franktown United Methodist Church, with the Rev. C.R. Brooks officiating.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Franktown United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 130, Franktown, VA 23354; Arc Eastern Shore, P.O. Box 626, Exmore, VA 23350; Riverside Hospice of the Eastern Shore, 25379 Lankford Hwy., P.O. Box 616, Accomac, VA 23301; or Hospice of the Piedmont, 675 Peter Jefferson Parkway, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA 22911.

Family and friends may sign the guest book at

Arrangements were made by Holland Funeral Home in Nassawadox.
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