James Massey


A gentle soul who was a friend to all, Mr. James Brian Massey, 36, of Richmond, died of an unintentional overdose in his home on April 3, 2024. Although the news of his passing is tragic, it was not sudden. He had struggled with addiction for at least 10 years and the addiction was preceded by the onset of epilepsy in 2008. Every day with him was a gift shadowed by the uncertainty of risky behavior.

He was born in Nassawadox on Jan. 4, 1988, to Bill and Kresty Massey who were delighted (and surprised) about having a fourth child. With each of their other children being unique, James was no exception. He wore a duct-taped suit to prom, grew his hair into dreadlocks, and would sleep in on Christmas morning when most kids were beside themselves with excitement. Although he was a millennial, his favorite TV shows were all from the 1960s and 1970s. Favorites included “Leave it to Beaver,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Good Times,” “Barnaby Jones,” and “Taxi.”

He was a graduate of Northampton High School and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, where he received an associate degree in opticianry. He worked as an optician for several years around Richmond, which he enjoyed. He also worked several shifts at The Nile Restaurant in Richmond spanning 15 years. This family-run business was a great environment, as they always provided him with friendship, food, and some spending money.

The brutality of addiction was always in contrast with his gentle demeanor and good-natured spirit. It made it impossible to stay mad at him or set firm boundaries with consequences.

He had successfully completed rehabilitation programs for substance abuse and was receiving treatment through the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Motivate Clinic. Special thanks to Dr. Brandon Wills, counselor J’Lee Maldonado, and the ladies at the front desk for their tireless efforts, unwavering support, and overall hospitality.

James was preceded in death by his brother, Richard Andrew Massey, of Silver Beach; father, William Gregory Massey, of Silver Beach; grandparents Creston and Catherine Parker, of Silver Beach, and Bill and Dorothy Massey, of Naples, Fla.

He is survived by his mother, Kresty Parker Massey, of Silver Beach; brother, Wil Massey and his wife, Casey White, of Duffield; sister, Daisy Massey Moossa and her husband, John Moossa, of Richmond; and beloved nieces, Mary Moossa, of Richmond, and Lillie White, of Duffield.

The family will hold a memorial on the Eastern Shore of Virginia at a later date. In James’ name, may you show kindness and lead with love to everyone. And that means everyone.

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