David R. James Sr.
David R. James Sr. and his wife Goldie (Bissett) James started something which would turn out to be a family legacy, passed down through four generations and over 100 years. Among the dependable and highly successful businessman of Trumbull County is David R. James, funeral director, at Warren. He was born at Houtzdale, PA on Sept. 4, 1888 the son of John W. James and Margaret (Palmer) James.
John W. James is a native of Wales, as was his wife. She died in 1927 and is buried in Sharon, PA. Mr. James was a stationary engineer and during his early life was located at Houtzdale, PA., and later at Punxsutawney, PA. About 1919 he retired and moved to Sharon, PA where he resides. He was a Republician, a member of the Baptist Church, and belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. To Mr. and Mrs. James were born the following children: Will, William, Thomas, Elizabeth, John, David R., Benjamin, and Arthur.
The early life of David R. James was spent at Punxsutawney, PA and left school at the age of 12 to work in the coal mines. He later was employed in the steel mills in Sharon, PA. When 17 yrs old Mr. James became identified with Rensel & Son undertakers, in Farrell, and he later attended the Pittsburgh School of Anatomy, at Allegheny, PA,. being a member of the class of 1907. He subsequently was employed for three years by J.H. Brown & Son of Cleveland, OH, and later with the Wickens Company, in Lorain, OH. For a time he was located at Youngstown, and in 1912, Mr. James established a business of his own at Youngstown. Two years later the place was destroyed by a fire, and Mr. James then went to PA and conducted a funeral home at Farrell until 1922, when he sold the establishment and established his present business at Newton Falls, OH. He opened a branch home at Warren, OH in April 1934, and has met with unusual success in his new venture. His well appointed home is located at 350 North Park Ave. Warren.
In 1917 Mr. James was united in marriage with Miss Goldie Bissett of Farrell, PA and the daughter of John and Belle (Kaiser) Bissett, natives of Indiana and Michigan. The former died in 1933, and is buried at Sharon, PA. Mrs. Bissett lives in Sharon. To Mr. and Mrs. James have two children 1: Olive Catherine born 1918 and 2: David Robert James born 1928.
Mr. James has served for two years as a member of the city council in Newton Falls. He holds memberships in the Congregational Church, and is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge #462, Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, Kiwanis Club, and past patron of the (OES)Order of the Eastern Star #78 in Newton Falls.
David R. James Sr.
David R. James Jr. and his wife Lois I. (Eckford) James
DAVID R. JAMES JR.
David Robert (Bob) James was born on May 8, 1928 in Newton Falls, OH in the second floor apartment at the James Funeral Home where his parents David R, and Goldie A.(Bissett) James lived at that time. At the age of 19 months Bob feel out of the second floor window at the funeral home and landed on his head and almost died. Dave and Goldie moved Bob and his older sister Olive to their farm on old 534 before Bob was three years old. Bob loved the farm and helping his Dad raise the horses, cattle, and capons. His father got him his first pony bringing it home in the back seat of a Packard car when he four. He went to school at Newton Falls until the 9th grade when his parents sent him to Stanton Military Academy. While Bob and his sister Olive were growing up, the family would take vacations to Canada to fish and hunt. This is where he met his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life Lois Ina Eckford. Bob was accepted at West Point but after graduation from Stanton he came home to help his father at the funeral home as help was hard to find because of WWII. He and Lois got married in Powasson Ontario Canada on June 5, 1948. He then decided that if he was going to in the funeral profession he might as well get his Funeral Directors License, so he went to Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. Upon graduating he returned home to run the family business with his parents, his sister and brother-in-law Olive & Joseph Rigby. Bob and Lois Started out their life together living above the funeral home just as did his Parents David and Goldie, Sister and husband Olive and Joseph Rigby. Bob and Lois lived there until it was too crowded with their first three children David Richard (Dick), Victoria Ann (Vikki), and William Thomas (Tom). Bob then built their home on Liberty Street behind the funeral home. They later added two more sons Daniel Lyn, and Ronald Carl to their loving family. Bob and Lois were members of the First Christian Church in Newton Falls where they took their children. Bob was also a member of the Rotary Clun of Newton Falls. Newton Falls Masonic Lodge #462, Leading Starr Chapter #79 OES, Scottish Rite Valley of Youngstown, and the Al Koran Shine of Cleveland.
Bob loved to return to Canada in the summers to fish and in the fall to hunt at Nipissing Hunt Camp with his father-in-law and grandfather-in-law Jimmy Eckford Jr. and Sr. When his sons each reached the age of 16 he would take them to Canada hunting at the camp with family. Golfing was one of Bob’s favorite past times and the Wednesday golf leagues at Riverview Golf Course was always a highlight of his week. After he retired in 1984, he and Lois moved to their beautiful lake front home in Rock Creek where they enjoyed watching all their grandchildren swimming and playing. Getting together for all their birthdays at Rock Creek was always a special event. Family was always very important to Bob and Lois and the May birthday parties for Bob, Dick, Dan, Ron, Erica and Alyssa were always times of great joy for them. Even though he was retired Bob never really stopped being a funeral director. He continued helping his son Tom with the funeral home caring for the families they served. He always said that it was not a job to him but rather a chance to help his friends when they needed it most. His love for family, friends and little children will always be what is remembered most about Bob.
Bob & Lois James
Joe Rigby was born in Sharon, PA in 1913. He was the firstborn of Albert and Grace Brauchle Rigby. Joe had two younger sisters, Grace and Helen. The three of them were life-long friends and never lived more than fifty miles apart.
Joe’s father, Albert, was blessed with a brilliant engineering talent and was assistant general superintendent of the Carnegie Steel operation in Farrell, PA. He developed and owned the patent for the Rigby Valve which was a liquid fuel regulating valve. It was a single handle valve that was the predecessor to singly handle water faucets.
In 1917, when Joe was just four years old, his father contracted encephalitis lethargica (sleepy sickness). This disease led to increasingly erratic behavior and created a very chaotic situation for the family. After the onslaught of this disease, Joe’s mother, Grace began teaching school and also sold insurance to provide for her family. Albert died sixteen years later at the age of 47. Grace lived to 97 and died in 1984.
Joe began his career as a machinist in Sharon Steel. He met Olive James and they were married in 1941 in David and Goldie James’ beautiful “little Mount Vernon” home on East River Road. For 54 years they were partners and did everything together. For the first six years of their marriage they lived in Sharon as Joe continued his work with Sharon Steel.
As David and Goldie began to plan for retirement, they asked Joe and Olive to join with them, along with Bob and Lois James, to manage the funeral home. In 1947, Joe and Olive moved to Newton Falls and lived in an apartment above the funeral home. They committed themselves to operating the funeral home with the highest possible standards and worked together, shoulder-to-shoulder, for nearly 30 years. Joe graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science and was a licensed funeral director and embalmer.
Joe and Olive had three children – Carol Rigby Carleton, Jim and Jeff. Above all, Joe and Olive loved and cared for their family. They worked together, played together and had many wonderful vacations at Sparrow Lake Canada. Perhaps most important, meals at the Rigby’s were a central time of family sharing. They sat at table together three times every day.
Joe and Olive were loyal supporters of the Newton Falls United Methodist Church. They were both particularly active in the planning and construction of the new sanctuary built in 1964 on Ridge Road. For many years Olive sang beautifully each Sunday morning in the choir. She also committed her time to managing the church, holding a number of positions on the Administrative Board. In addition, Joe was a member of the Masonic Lodge and Olive was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Kiwanis and its service to Newton Falls were very important to Joe. He was president of the chapter in 1964. Over the years the club has been a strong supporter of the community and has taken on many important projects, including purchasing land around the Community Center and helping to turn it into parks and playgrounds. The Kiwanis Kapers in the old Newton Falls Center Street gymnasium are legendary, and other well-known activities include the annual Cake Walk and Rose Sales.
Joe and Olive retired in 1975 and built a home at Riverview Golf Course in Braceville. They loved playing golf with their friends, and over the years they each shot a hole-in-one. They also spent many winters in Lakeland, Florida, where they were associate members of the Lakeland First United Methodist Church. During those years, they were blessed with the joys of many new friends.
In 1993 Olive and Joe moved to Cortland to be closer to Carol and Jeff and their families. Olive died in 1995. Joe died eleven years later in 2006. Most of all, Joe and Olive were always very grateful for their many blessings. They committed their lives and loyalty to each other, their family, the James Funeral Home and the Methodist Church.
Joseph & Olive Rigby
W. Thomas James
W. Thomas (Tom) James
Ryan C. James and his wife Kellie (St. Clair) James
Ryan grew up in Newton Falls his entire life and was raised around the funeral business. Ryan has been working at the James Funeral Home since the age of 13. He started with mowing the lawns and doing general yard work then at age 16 started delivering flowers, doing removals, and working funerals and calling hours. When he graduated in 1990 from Newton Falls High School he took a year off and then started at Kent State University in 1991 for a business and accounting degree. After much convincing by his father that he always would have a job if he got into the funeral industry he started mortuary school in Pittsburgh in August 1995. He did very well in school and graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in January 1997. He then went on to finish up his Bachelor of Science Degree at Point Park University in Pittsburgh and graduated in January 1998. When he came home he served a year and a half long internship under the expert totolidge of his father & grandfather. He became a licensed funeral director and embalmer in May 1999. Ryan got married in October 9, 1999 to Kellie D. St.Clair, and they have one son Landen Payne James.
Ryan & Kellie James