Grissom Funeral Home and Crematory

803 Emmett Street, Kissimmee, FL


Diedrelaythe JAMES

September 2, 1965May 14, 2020

Diedrelaythe James, 54, passed away May 14, 2020. Diedre was born to the late Robert James and Irene Mitchell in New Brunswick, NJ on September 2, 1965. When Diedre was 6 years old, she was baptized at Tabernacle Baptist Church on June 7, 1972. Later, she met a charming man, Michael Anthony Washington in New Brunswick at a store called J.J. Newberrys. Together they had their son, Nicholas Washington. Diedre attended college at Rutgers University. She worked at UMDNJ as an Administrative Analyst before moving to Florida in 2002. She then worked Disney for 15 years until she retired at 53 years old.

Diedre was a giver and she loved to help people no matter the circumstance. During retirement, she started a business with her friend, David Lindor to sell merchandise to families in Haiti. She was also a skilled piano player who had a knack for playing by ear. She loved all music but especially R&B and Pop. In her free time, she enjoyed taking cruises and traveling the world.

In addition to her parents, Diedre was predeceased by her husband, Leroy Reaves; loving stepfather, Willie James Lott and sister, Judith Conley Price. She is survived by her son, Nicholas; Nicholas’ father, Michael Anthony Washington; brother, Theo James; sister, Joy Harrison; niece, Talia Price; many cousins and countless other family members and friends. Over the years her family and friends could all agree that she was mother, a sister, and a mentor to most she came in contact with. She truly cherished her friends like family and will be missed by all who knew her.

Service dates and times will be announced shortly. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice in Diedre’s name.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Diedrelaythe JAMES

have a memory or condolence to add?

reverend (renee) Mother

May 23, 2020

Nicholas, may you find comfort in the memory of your mother my cousin. Remember to also cherish those life lessons that she gave you. They will serve you well.

Diedra was not only my cousin
She was my school mate, she was my Dance School buddy and my carnival ride partner.
My fondest memory of her was riding together in the back seat of my family car listening to Aunt Nuki and Aunt Honey talk and laugh on the way to Corvettes or Jade Pagoda. Those were the days. Be strong little cousin we got you....

To Thalia: You are loved, Keep in touch
To The family: How You Doing

Sharon Kane

May 22, 2020

I am so heartbroken to hear of your Moms passing. I always loved you both and will cherish the memories I have. Your Mom was always one of my favorite people.
Love Sharon

Charlotte Bowser

May 21, 2020

Cousin Dee u will b missed n you r a lovable cousin because of ur mom aunt honey. I will miss u both love cousin Charlotte

The JAMES Sisters

May 21, 2020

Cousin Diedre you will be missed, RIP.
Kim, Darlene and Karen will forever cherish
and hold on to
Our most fondest memories with you.
Diedre was liked by so many people,
And never hesitated to help someone
Whenever she could.

Diedre got me a job at UMDNJ now
Rutgers over 20 years ago and I’m still
We remember Diedre playing her piano
and she loved music.

Cousin Nick we love you and adored how
You looked after you Mom and the love you
Showed her. May GOD continue to Bless you
And comfort you during this time.

Tesa Parlor

May 21, 2020

My most favorite memory of Diedre would have to be when we were both working together as Vacation Planners at Disney Epcot. One day, Diedre and I shared a ticket booth together, and it was one of our slow days. I don't know why, but I talked about myself to her (something which I normally don't do). I told her about my frustrations on how I couldn't find a job in my field. She was rapt with attention, and when I finished ranting, she told me that I need to put myself out there. She told me that she didn't want to see me working at Disney for a long time. She told me to go out there and keep applying because you never know what will happen. Then when she learned what my degree was in, she excitedly told me about Nick and what he does. Fast forward a bit, I actually meet her son in person and we chat for a bit (still working on being shy when talking to new people, especially guys). I won't ever forget what she told me and how she treated me kindly. I will cherish the times we spoke and laugh at work. I will miss her and I know she is in a better place right now.

Talia Price

May 21, 2020

My first memory of Diedre was when I was 4 years old. I remember her making me cereal at grandma’s and we were watching cartoons. Grandma would always say that Diedre was my heartstring. And in some ways, she was. I didn’t have any siblings and I didn’t have any friends so at times she was all I had when my mother was at work. She took me fishing when I was 7 years old and I caught my first fish. I was so happy that I peed my pants. No joke. Such an embarrassment but I was still happy.
When Nicholas was born, Diedre’s attention left me and when to him. I didn’t understand why at the time. But I did as I got older. We all change, and so did she. She was a mother and she had a son to take care of. And I was growing up.
Throughout the years, Diedre and I drifted apart. I grew older, and she got married and moved away. I still cared about her, worried about her. And when my mother died, she was there to console me in her own way. And now that she is gone, I wish I could have been there and kept contact; however, you can’t change the past. You can only change the present.
I want to say goodbye Diedre. You were my favorite aunt. I love you very much and I never hated you I was just hurting. We all are now that you are gone. We all have to make that transition to the 8th dimension. That’s how I see death because life keeps going. And I know she is in a better place.

Lastly, Nicholas you’re more like a brother to me than a cousin. We’ve both had interesting childhoods, raised by strong women. Your mom is always with you, she just had to transition so that she could be with you for the rest of your life, you really can’t do that physically. Trust she will make her presence known anytime when you need her motherly advice. Mothers don’t die, they stay with us.
Goodbye aunt Diedre, say hello to my mom, grandma, granddad, and grandpop. I’m sure they will keep you company up there. I’ll miss you and love you. We all miss you and love you.

Love always
Your niece, Talia

Gigi Abbey

May 21, 2020

I worked with Diedrelaythe at Epcot she was the first one to make me feel welcome when I started. Her smile always made the longest and hardest days better. I will always remember her kindness. Heaven definitely gained an angel.

Jackie Porter

May 21, 2020

I had the privilege of working with Diedre at Epcot. She was pleasant and always wore a smile. I'm saddened by the news but God knows best. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and those who knew her.

John Graham

May 20, 2020

Diedre, I 'm so glad to have met you! I remember talking with you about a year ago and catching up on life when our paths crossed again in downtown Orlando. I remember us talking about Disney Quest and where we all are today. We've had some funny moments and crazy guest but what stands out is how you always made me ride CyberSpace Mountain when we had the opening checklist and forgot about me inside the coaster (because maintenance needed you for something!) It's something we always laughed about for years! You were so kind in every situation and with me! I will miss you and will always remember you and our Disney Quest stories! Rest in peace Diedre and thank you!

Renee Brooks

May 20, 2020

I remember my cousin quiet and somewhat shy. I was always the outgoing person, talented and a bit conceited. But there was something in Diedre that I wanted to be like, a lady. She was sweet and sensitive and she never made me feel estranged. Her reserved manner caused you to look at yourself and challenged you to make correction. We spent a little time together every summer when my sisters and me went to Aunt Leola's house and I was always happy to know that she and Aunt Honey was coming by. Thank you ladies for teaching me to be a lady. SIP CUZ 💙💙💙


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