Dolores Madeline James

July 4, 1934June 22, 2018
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Dolores Madeline was born on Wednesday, July 4th, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York to Arthur Lee and Fentrice Beatrice Smith. At the tender age of 8, Dolores, along with her parents and siblings, Doris, Devird, and Adelaide all migrated to Portland, Oregon. There she attended Chapman Grade School with her two best friends, Betty Jefferson (deceased) and Katie Burrell. She attended Lincoln High School where music and singing was a great love of hers. She aspired to be an opera singer like her favorite, Marian Anderson, one of the greatest contralto sopranos. Mom was also a contralto soprano in her day. You should have heard her rendition of Oh Holy Night which we would sing together for the family during the Christmas holiday.

Why she was known for her family: Dolores was lovingly called Big Sissy and Do-Do by her family and friends, but she sported the name D.J. in her sassy days! And let’s not forget about Fruit Punch since she was always mixing it up! She was a true big sister to her siblings by helping wash, cook, give advice, and she could definitely press some hair! That became a regular Saturday ritual to her sisters and daughters, not too many burns, but she could work that comb if you did not sit still. She and her baby sister, Donna, were called the bookends. Mom being the oldest held up one end and Donna being the baby held up the other end of the family.

Dolores was married to Arthur Thomas James (deceased) and together they raised, cared for, and loved their children: Steven, Michael, Deborah, Robin, Kevin, Lisa, Patricia Howard, and Alfred (Butch) James (deceased). So many fond memories were made during the time her husband was alive. Beach trips, Canada trips, picnics, Sunday drives, and let’s not forget the old drive in. What fun we had! We have so many, many stories about her life which cannot all be told in this written message. All the talks, imparted wisdom, advice, and love which was shared with many of you, especially at the kitchen table (the conversation spot). Mom would leave no detail out! Those times will be forever in each of your hearts as they will be in ours.

Mom had a very sharp mind and was a very knowledgeable woman. She was always wanting to learn and knew a little something about almost everything. She would have been a great jeopardy candidate because she could answer a lot of the questions when watching the show. Her grandson, Norman, called her the human google, because she would have the answer.

Mom would watch sports with us and had a special love for Big Shaq. She was truly a Laker girl! And we can’t forget the Cavaliers. Whenever they scored she would say, “That was Kevin! Love!” And we’d all break out laughing at the way she said his name. You had to be there to understand.

She loved to watch what many called “the stories”. The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful to name a few. Often times hanging on the phone with her best friend, Katie, who called almost every day to discuss what happened to Victor. Everyone was asked to please not call until 12pm because from 11 to 12 she was watching her stories. We all knew to watch the time!

What she has accomplished: Besides being a mother to us that many could only dream of having, she worked 32 years at Emanuel Hospital. She started out as a ward clerk and after being widowed at age 43, she went back to school and attained a degree as a pharmacy technician until retirement. As she walked out of the door saying, “Bye Emanuel” it was great to say so long to a job that faired her well by allowing her to finish raising her children.

Dolores was well traveled. Each year she took a month long vacation to places like Hawaii, Europe, and other countries. She took many, many, many cruises all over with her best girl and sister, Doris. Some places we will never see, but can only hope and dream to.

Why we call her loving: Because of the love she shared with everyone that crossed her path. Her ears and her heart were always open to them. Many times some of our friends would be sitting and talking with mom and we would say, “What are you doing here?” and they would reply, “Seeing your mom!” Robin would jokingly let them know, don’t take up too much time because us 6 already have to share her, so make it brief!

Why we called her blessed: First, she would always say she was blessed because she had us and her complete family. She shared her whole life with her children, grandchildren, great grands, and great-great grands with a fervent heart. She remembered birthdays, graduations, weddings, and anything and everything about her children. Their lives were important for her to be a part of, the good, the bad, and even the ugly. She would always say, “I don’t care how bad it is, tell me, and we will work it out.” Her children will always remember needing that strong tower and were always assured of her love. On cold days, we would wake up to a warm house. We always had good coats, clean clothes, and good shoes for the winter, hot meals, and starched shirts and dresses so stiff they scratched. We will always remember the games we played, the time she spent with us, and the love she shared. It was an honor just to call her Mama! Not only was she blessed, but so are we. She gave us all a wonderful life! Not just her children, but everyone who darkened the doorstep of 115 NE Going Street.

Her Christian Walk: She has known God all her life. The last 13 years of her life she was a dedicated member of Cornerstone Community Church of God in Christ. She was the kitchen coordinator where she was right at home! She was a great cook and feared no recipes. At one of the pastor and wives anniversaries, one of the guest pastors asked if she owned a restaurant. Her food was just that good! That was mama, doing what she always does, cooking her food with love. She especially liked the churches annual Thanksgiving feed. It gave her gratification to cook for those in need.

From earth to reward: Dolores Madeline James leaves to continue her legacy, her children (her little loves as she called us): Steven Arthur, Michael David (K’Lynn), Deborah Elaine, Robin Marie (Otis), Kevin Paul (Sherrie) and Lisa Diane (Ron), and Patricia Howard; many, many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren; sisters, Doris, Adelaide, Fentrice, Jacqueline, and Donna; and extended family and friends far too numerous to name.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Thomas James; her parents, Arthur Lee and Fentrice Smith; sister, Devird Ollison-Thomas; brother, Wade Smith; and Alfred (Butch) James.

Last words from the family: Mama… the struggles of life never got you down, because the fight you had allowed you to live. I am sure your new assignment will be working in the heavenly kitchen feeding the angels, after which not one will be able to fly. It will be called the no fly zone! Not man down, angel down!

We will miss you and pray that we could exercise just a portion of your faith and strength! In doing that, we too will see Heaven!

Mama, so long to your wonderful life!

Love, your family who will always, always, love you!


  • Visitation Thursday, June 28, 2018
  • Homegoing Service Friday, June 29, 2018
  • Graveside Service Friday, June 29, 2018

Dolores Madeline James

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Deborah Boitano

June 26, 2018

Grandma Dolores was the next best thing to our mother, Donna Rae Pulliam. Both were instrumental in the lives of their offspring. Both carried themselves with the utmost determination, faith, respect for all people, and love for family. They were good friends and steadfast homemakers. They are reunited once again and will continue to be loved and missed everyday of our lives here on earth. Rest peaceful sweet lady.

The Pulliam Family


Mama's 80th Birthday Cruise!