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Evelyn Elaine Van Hook James

Sunday, May 19, 2019
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Our beloved Mother and Grandmother, Evelyn Elaine Van Hook James, died peacefully on Wednesday May 15 at her home on Chautauqua Road in Ruston, La. after surviving for many years with the complications that come with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Evelyn was born in Shreveport, LA, on March 19, 1931, to McGuire “Mac” and Floy “Woy” Van Hook. She graduated from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (LA Tech University) in Elementary Education in 1951.

Evelyn is survived by her six children and spouses: Billy James and wife Shai of Metairie, David James and wife Jeanne of Baton Rouge, Mark James and wife Alison of Metairie, Bob James and wife Lesley of Ruston, Jeff James and wife Mia of Baton Rouge and Ginger Halford of Whitehouse, TX. She is also survived by sixteen grandchildren: Shannon Roberts and husband Marshall, Staci Kearney and husband Dan, G.W. “Will” James IV and wife Suzanne; Sally Svendson and husband Wade, William and Carter James; Mark Jr., John, Paul and Peter James; Bobby James and wife Hannah, Shep and Hayes James; Catherine James; James and Jack Halford and four great grandchildren: Grayson and Reese Roberts; Elaine Grace and Annalee James. She is also survived by her sister’s-in-law, Mary Nell Van Hook Anders and Peggy Van Hook. She was preceded in death by her high school sweetheart and adoring husband of 63 years, G.W. “Billy” James Jr., grandson David M. James Jr., her parents, Mac and Floy Van Hook and her brothers Gerald and Bubba Van Hook.

Evelyn was affectionately known as “Mamaw” by her grandchildren whom she loved very much. She was a constant source of loving encouragement by offering “Mamawisms” to the ones that needed it. Her proudest accomplishment in life was her family where she spent the majority of her time being involved and present in her children and grandchildren’s lives. Earlier in life she enjoyed spending time with her friends and family at Grand Isle, Lake D’Arbonne and hosting cookouts and gatherings with her many cherished friends. Later she loved antiquing with her daughters-inlaw, spending time with Billy at their condos in Crested Butte Colorado and Orange Beach, AL. She and Billy enjoyed restoring homes such as the Hodge/James “Little Camp” at Lake D’arbonne, the Crook house on Chautauqua Road and the T.L. James Big House. Evelyn had the gift of a green thumb as evidenced by a Horticulture and Floral license from the State of Louisiana. Evelyn’s Flowers and Gifts provided flower arrangements to Trinity United Methodist Church and many weddings and funerals for friends and family. Her artistic flair was evident at many of her grandchildren’s Baptisms and birthday parties throughout the year.

Evelyn was a member of Sigma Kappa sorority and mentored generations of young students at Louisiana Tech University. Evelyn was a past president of the Ruston Beautification Foundation. She enjoyed membership in the Garden Study club and was a longtime member of the Ruston Junior Guild. She spent countless hours volunteering at Trinity Church and the Louisiana Methodist Foundation. The family is very grateful to LaGrant Tolston for 54 years of loyal and faithful service, to Sharonda Wiley for her loyal and caring support, and to the many caregivers who attended her during her illness.

Visitation will be held from 2 - 3 p.m. Sunday, May 19, 2019, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1000 Woodward Ave, Ruston, LA. Services will follow immediately at 3 p.m. Burial will be at the Greenwood Cemetery in Ruston. Pallbearers will be Evelyn’s 13 grandsons. Funeralwillbeofficiated by Dr. Reverend Juliet Spencer, the Rev. Rolly Walker and the Rev. Leslie Stephens.

Memorial donations may be made to the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home P.O. Box 929, Ruston, LA 71273, or Trinity United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be sent to the family at