Grady W. James, Jr., passed away on Friday, August 3, 2018, at the age of 70. He was born in Jasper County, Texas, on September 16, 1947, to Grady and Eunice Humphreys James.
He was raised in Woodville, Texas, with the freedom to roam the woods, hunt rabbits, fish the streams, and learned what he boasted to be his second language: East Texas. He became an entrepreneur at the age of 8 by mowing lawns all over town, and by age 10 had credit with the local hardware store where he bought his own push mower. By his mid-teens, he saved enough money from his job with the county to purchase his first car a used station wagon that his family loaded up in the summer to travel the country. In a home filled with love, honor and respect, he gathered the tools he would need in life, and he implemented them well.
Despite all odds, and teachers suggesting he just wasn’t college material, Grady not only graduated from Lamar University, he enrolled in St. Mary’s University School of Law and became licensed to practice law in 1973. And the legal community of East Texas was never the same. With God-given talent of wit and intuition, mixed with hard work, natural skill and shrewdness, Grady quickly became that trial lawyer other lawyers and their clients feared. He is an East Texas legend in family law who leaves behind the standard his peers aspire to reach, yet few may actually achieve.
While the list of Grady’s legal achievements would fill pages and a great era has ended, the law never became the man. Grady was a man blessed with a vision that time was not to be squandered, and a spirit that would not allow it. His approach to a new day was to make it better, more exciting, and more fun than the day before. His sense of adventure took him across Texas and the world in search of a flock of doves, a fish on the end of a hook, a deer in the crosshair of a scope, a coyote to mount on the wall, or just a good time with loved ones. His spontaneity drove him and whomever he could coax to ride along to quick trips across the county or state line for a hunt or roll dice. He filled his need to escape boredom by engaging in new hobbies. He perfected target and skeet shooting, reloaded ammunition, learned to fly, toured the country on a Harley, raised cattle and peas, learned to weld and whittle, and whatever piqued his interest once he mastered the hobby before.
Grady loved his family and friends. He was always up for a gathering or a road trip, and his years were filled with many. He took great joy in frying fish and making barbeque for crowds of family, friends, colleagues, and sometimes complete strangers as when he prepared kettles of red beans and rice in a hotel parking lot for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The planning and preparation was all a part of the thrill he got in engaging in something productive.
To sum up Grady’s life, he is indeed a legend. He is the example that drive can conquer all obstacles, that integrity and self-respect is the pathway to success, and that the love of life itself is the key to happiness. His years were surely filled with love and life because he put love and life in his years. You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough. To those who loved him most, his life here on earth was not enough and it never would be. For Grady, he did it right and it was enough.
He is survived by his wife, Carrie James; daughters Diana (Buddy) McGrath, Jennifer (Jeremy) Robin, and Jamie (Jason) Bone; step-children Timothy (Stephanie) Sisak and Kristina (Justin) Weinman; sister Becky (Gary) Brisco; parents in-law Anton and Betty Strzelczyk; siblings in-law Robert (Jackie) Strzelczyk, Michael (Cerise) Strzelczyk, Laurie (Donnie) Garrison; grandchildren Courtney Jackson, Christian Jackson, Claire Robin, Jake Robin, Allison Bone, Travis Bone, Avery Sisak, Peyton Sisak, and Emory Weinman. He leaves behind nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, cousins, many close friends, his treasure Winnie Pooh, and best bud Duanie Pooh Pooh.
Visitation will be held at Cashner Funeral Home on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church of Conroe, 600 North Main Street, Conroe, Texas, on August 9, 2018, at 1:00 p.m.