Ellen W. James


Ellen James, 91 year old resident of Upsala, MN passed away Saturday, February 23, 2019 at the Assumption Nursing Home in Cold Spring, MN. A funeral service will held at 2:00 P.M. on Friday, March 1, 2019 at the Community Country Church in Holdingford, MN with Rev. Joshua Koehn officiating. Burial will take place in the South Elmdale Congregational Church Cemetery. A visitation will be held from 12-2 P.M. on Friday at the Community Country Church in Holdingford, MN.

Ellen May Wilcox was the firstborn child of Maurice and Lois Wilcox in Westerly, Rhode Island on March 25, 1927. Ellen was married to Jesse W. James on May 29, 1954 at East Principle Baptist Church in Wyoming, Rhode Island. She partnered with Jesse in his ministerial work until his passing. Their ministry took them to 18 different churches in 8 different states. She learned to adapt to a wide variety of houses, and became very good at packing their meager possessions. No matter the circumstance or situation, she always had the gift of making the family’s parsonage housing a true home. She was frequently the organist, pianist, and Sunday school teacher, in addition to raising their family. She often provided piano accompaniment when Jesse would sing. She enjoyed sewing and crocheting. After her children had grown, she also worked at a bakery, and did tax preparation for H & R Block. Ellen was an intelligent, thoughtful, quiet, and reserved woman. She was a vital, often unseen part of their ministry together. After Jesse passed away in 2010, and due to declining health, she moved to Riverside Assisted Living in Royalton. After a further decline in health, she moved to Assumption Home in Cold Spring. She was very proud of her beloved grandchildren, and especially proud of her great-grandchildren. Her quiet, strong faith sustained her all her life.

Ellen is survived by her children, Esther (Mark) Koehn of Holdingford, MN and Timothy (Marli) James of Williamsburg, VA; step-son, Kelsey James of Lawrence, KS; grandchildren, Stewart James, Wesley James, Kandria James, Jessica (Andy) Kuhn, Joshua (Kristina) Koehn, Jacob (Amber) Koehn, Jessica Lapham, Kenneth (Hannah) James and Rebecca James; great-grandchildren, Cecilia, Wesley, Jack, Thomas, Clara, Theodore, Landen and Penelope.

Ellen was preceded in death by her husband Jesse; parents, Maurice and Lois Wilcox; brothers, Lester, James and Edgar; great-granddaughter, Crystina.