Thursday, January 20, 2022

Charlene M. James

Charlene M. (Gray) James, age 85 years, a resident of Karnak, Illinois, passed away Thursday morning, November 25, 2021, at 10:49 AM at her home.

Charlene was born February 14, 1936 in Vienna, Illinois. She was the daughter of Charles J. and Violet L. (Thompson) Gray.

On June 17, 1955, Charlene was united in marriage to Eddie James by Rev. Earl Voyette at the Vienna First Christian Church. Eddie preceded her in death on May 14, 2011.

Charlene is survived by: her son – Charles “Buzz” (Sharon) James of Simpson; 2 grandchildren – Melody (Carl) Schmidt of Karnak and Steve James of Cypress; 2 great grandsons – Eli and Adlia Schmidt; a brother – Jim Bob (Joyce) Gray of Vienna; a sister-in-law – Theresa Gray of Vienna; nephews – Joe Gray, Jason (Debra) Gray, and John (Beth) Gray; a great niece and nephews – Taylor (Jacob) Horn, Patrick Gray, and Blake Gray; a great-great nephew – Edison; as well as other relatives and a host of friends.

In addition to her parents and husband, Charlene was preceded in death by a brother – Carl W. Gray.

Charlene was a 1954 graduate of Vienna High School. She had been employed as a cook and waitress at Ned’s Shed in Vienna and Basham’s Restaurant in Karnak. Charlene was also a devoted homemaker.

She was a member of the Daniel Chapman Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution and served as Regent for 7 years as well as holding other offices within the organization. Charlene was a lifelong member of the Vienna First Christian Church and attended the First Baptist Church in Karnak.

Charlene served as a room mother for 6 years at the former Karnak Grade School. Additionally, Charlene would often drive members of the baseball and basketball teams to out-of-town games. She treasured all the children who grew up playing in her backyard when her son, Buzz, was young. Also, she has appreciated the friendship of her longtime neighbors, Alan Barnett and Scott and Kay Tapley.

Charlene was an avid reader. She also enjoyed studying genealogy, spending time with her family and working in her yard.

A graveside service will be held Monday, November 29, 2021, at 2 PM at Cypress Cemetery. Interment will follow. Pastor Dean West will officiate.

Visitation will be held Monday afternoon, November 29, 2021, from 12 Noon until 1:30 PM at Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna.

Memorials may be made to the Baptist Children’s Home & Family Services, 949 County Road 1300 North, Carmi, Illinois 62821 or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105. 

To share a memory of Charlene or to leave an online message of condolence for her family, please visit

Arrangements have been entrusted to Bailey Funeral Home in Vienna.

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