Lindsey Funeral Homes

473 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA


There will be no services.

Dr. Philip James

November 21, 1932February 20, 2020

Dr. Philip James loved teaching and he loved art. He dedicated much of his life to the combination of those two passions. As a teacher over an expansive career, he imparted his love of art to children, college students and teachers.

He began his career in public schools in Pennsylvania, continued it at the campus school of Illinois State University, and ultimately joined the faculty of James Madison University in 1975. At JMU, he taught art education to teachers-in-training, with a focus on special education. He was a member of the JMU faculty for 22 years, seven of which he served as Art Department Head. Two things of which he was most proud were creating the Summer Art Program for children at JMU and helping to found the OASIS Art Gallery in downtown Harrisonburg.

Dr. James was born in Pennsylvania on November 21, 1932, one of six children. His sister, Ruth and brother, Nelson and sister-in-law, Betty, remain in Pennsylvania with their families; his brother Walter and his family live in California.

Phil is survived also by his wife Carol, their oldest son, Christopher and his family; Katrina and Casey; their middle son, Jason and his daughter, Korée; and their youngest son, Vijay. Phil’s loyal dog and cat, Argo and Noisy Man respectively, also spent many hours by his side.

There will be no services.


  • There will be no services.


Dr. Philip James

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lydia Dambekalns

February 28, 2020

Dr. James was such an encouragement to me. I enjoyed my interactions with him at JMU, and then went on to Penn State for my Ph.D in Art Education. I had a great 22 year career in pre-service art ed out in Wyoming, largely inspired by him. AND another interesting connection... your horse (a chestnut with white markings) was originally my horse, and I ended up getting him back from you (he had Cushings) when I was living in Timberville. So Phil James has colored my life in many wonderful ways. He made this earth a much better place!

Belle Stemper

February 28, 2020

My heart goes out to Carol and your family. May precious memories bring you comfort, love surround you.

George Wead

February 27, 2020

A kind man who loved art. He will be remembered with affection.

Thomas Arthur

February 26, 2020

Have cared for and admired Phil for over fifty years. My heart goes out to Carol and the rest of the family.

Violet and Mike Allain

February 26, 2020

We will always remember Phil and his wonderful artistic contributions to the community. His dedicated work to establish Oasis and the children's art program have a special place in our hearts. Our daughter is now 47 years old but we still have some of her objects d'art that she created under Phil's gentle guidance when she was a youngster. We treasure this very much since it gave her, and us, great joy.
Phil will be very much missed. Our heartfelt sympathy to Carol and the James family.

Jerry Coulter

February 25, 2020

Carol and family

As a fellow member of the JMU faculty, I enjoyed working with Phil during his time at JMU. I am especially thankful for this leadership as department head. His calm and generous manner during times of stress within and without the Art Department during his tenure as department head was a steady rock that all of us could depend upon. He was a bulwark between the Art department and the sometimes oppressive administration.
He was above all a colleague you could depend upon and a pleasure to work with.
We old guys are fading fast and I will miss him and the times we had as the department developed and grew.

Jerry Coulter

Jay Kain

February 25, 2020

Our condolence goes out to Phil’s wife Carol and his family with his passing. We also celebrate his life and dedication to art education and his honest concern for those he touched. Phil was instrumental in establishing the early foundation for the outstanding art education program presently offered at JMU. He developed unique experiences for students to develop their skills and at the same time providing a great service to the community. Phil was unselfish in giving his personal time and knowledge to serve the students, faculty, and staff of the School. Phil’s professional service, activities, and leadership in the region, state and national areas speaks to his legacy and his impact on the area of art education. A good friend and a supporting professional colleague. Jay Kain

Jim Harris

February 23, 2020

I count knowing Phil James as one of the great blessings of my life. He was head of the JMU Art Department when I was an Art major there in the mid-70's. I was in my mid-to-late 20s and he was very approachable. Later we became good friends when we were both exhibiting at OASIS Gallery in H'burg. He had the wonderful gift of encouragement. He will certainly be missed.

Cole Welter

February 23, 2020

Phil was such a kind and gentle spirit. The many days spent working with him as a colleague at JMU are filled with good memories, as are the efforts spent working together to help establish OASIS. Phil was always first to volunteer in the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County arts community. His special brand of leadership was based on a true sense of caring for other people, and we are all richer for his gifts spent in our community. Phil’s contributions were many and valued, and he will not be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to Carol and Phil’s family on his passing.
Cole H. Welter

Christina Updike

February 23, 2020

Phil James was a wonderful teacher and leader in arts education at JMU. He was generous with his time and talents, not only as a professor and Department Head of the School of Art, but also in the community, leading local arts councils and assisting in the creation of OASIS Gallery. He was a valued colleague and friend. Beyond that, he was devoted to his family. My husband and I extend our sincere sympathy to Carol and the family for your loss. He will be greatly missed.
Tina and Phil Updike