Beardsley-Mitchell Funeral Home

1818 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, CA


Barbara S. James

April 19, 1959July 29, 2019

Barbara James, the loving mother of Nicole James Ross and Danielle James Ross, and the long-time wife and partner of Steven Ross, passed away on July 29th after a long and courageous battle against a very aggressive cancer.

Barbara was an avid painter, gardener and a devoted rescuer of dogs who were in danger, including her family’s current companions, Miya and Sandy. After her Maryland and DC career as a psychotherapist serving those most in need of help, Barbara moved to San Diego in 2009 in a successful effort to enhance the health of her daughters and to see them embark on meaningful life journeys of their own. Upon relocating, Barbara fell in love with the San Diego community and established great friendships with the early morning regulars at the Dusty Rhodes small dog park, CeeCee and the other members of the Coronado Garden Club, as well as her painting companions in Connie Athens watercolor class. She loved traveling with her family and visited many of nature’s most beautiful places as well as numerous locations representing the best of human achievements. Her painting adventures included spectacular trips to Italy, France and the Caribbean with watercolorist Christine Lashley.

Barbara’s family, both her family of origin and the family that she created, as well as her wide circle of friends on both coasts and her extended family, have throughout her sixty years been the beneficiaries of her remarkable caring skills in which she constantly perceived and attended to the needs of those around her before any self-consideration. She has truly been a person who made the lives of everyone she encountered better, because she cared for everyone’s well being. The world benefited from her presence and will suffer from her absence.

The picture above, taken during one of her painting trips to Italy, captures Barbara’s spirit and zest for life.

In addition to the family she created, she is survived by her devoted family including parents, Preston and Shirley James and her siblings, her sister, Jean Choquette, and her brother, Preston James, Jr.

Barbara’s family will conduct a memorial celebration of her life this fall. For those who wish to make a donation in her memory, the family suggests supporting the efforts of the Prevent Cancer Foundation (PreventCancer.org) at 1600 Duke Street, Suite 500, Alexandria, VA 22314.


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


Barbara S. James

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Joanne Garris

August 9, 2019

Barbara was a fellow student in the Tuesday Watercolor class at the Art Academy Her artistic spirit and enthusiasm always inspired me and HER WORK WAS SO PROLIFIC and beautiful and delicate like her personality. I will always treasure the memory of her acquaintance. From Joanne Garris

Carole Beyers

August 6, 2019

Barbara and I shared a professional relationship, and with that, I learned about true courage, kindness toward others and love of family and friends. Barbara's innate spirit connected immediately with whomever she was in contact with, whether they were life long friends or new relationships. She continually exuded joy, warmth and compassion, no matter how much pain she endured. Her old soul will live on in the lives she touched. My sincerest sympathies are extended to her family and friends. Her presence in our body and minds will endure, and help heal the pain and loss she has left behind.

Delia McCormick

August 2, 2019

The warm and beautiful obituary really captures Barbara, her personality and gifts, and the pleasure it was to know her.

As an occasional visitor to San Diego and an old friend from the DC area, I found Barbara always ready to greet John and me, and to be generous with her time and caring attention, even at times when she must have been very busy with personal work and issues.

Her friends in DC are grieving along with her family. I wanted to take a moment to express our appreciation for Barbara, and also for her wonderful husband and daughters, with so much love and sympathy for their loss.

Preston James

July 31, 2019

Barbara was an amazing sister to me, her younger brother. I have always known her as an exceptionally kind, caring, and loving person. Barbara really looked out for me as we were growing up. As my sister, but also friend and confidant, she helped me get through the challenges of adolescence. She provided me great counsel, encouragement and self-confidence. We had so many joyful times growing up; catching butterflies, (but always letting them go), walking in the woods, playing games, and mostly talking about life, our place in it, and hope for the future.

Barbara had a gift for sensing when others were struggling and helping lift their spirits. She was so generous with her time and compassion. Barbara had a way of just radiating positive energy (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness) and one usually left an encounter with Barbara in better spirits from it.

Barbara is truly a unique soul, always finding the joy in life whether in good times or bad. I will remember her always and look forward to one day hearing her witty humor and seeing her smile again.

Jane Charnas

July 31, 2019

I met Barbara in 1985 at a mutual friend’s dinner party. I sat next to her and so our friendship began. However upon our second meeting I told her I thought her name was Barbara Love. She, of course, corrected me. But how right I was.. she was Barbara Love. There is a purity in her that changed my life and has influenced me to be a better person. You are with me always

Judy Halter

July 31, 2019

What an honor it was to spend Wednesday mornings with Beautiful Barbara painting, discussing current events, sharing our challenges, and appreciating life. Barbara was an inspiration to the Wednesday group on many levels. Her artistic abilities were enviable but she never made me feel as I wasn't enough, always encouraging, always helpful. One of my favorite paintings of the Carlsbad flower fields resulted from Barbara's gentle constructive suggestions. Barbara's warmth, grace, and intellect blessed our group and elevated us to a new level. The last time I saw Barbara, she had her hair done and she looked beautiful radiant. I went and made an appointment to have my hair done, the minute I left class! Just a small silly example of how she influenced me. When I pray for grace I will think of Barbara because she truly exuded Grace, Beauty and Love. Truly an honor to spend Wednesday mornings with you. I will miss you!

Cee Cee Barrios

July 30, 2019

Barbara is the most courageous woman I know; an inspiration to all of us; the epitome of grace, kindness, beauty of spirit and body, and loving humor. I speak of her in the present tense as she continues to live in my heart. I will miss our times together ... gardening, painting (in France, too), eating, drinking wine, more eating, cursing political figures, crawfish boils, Thanksgivings together with deep fried turkeys, Christmases together; going to the zoo, museums, parks, plays, laughing, crying, and much more. I will cherish these memories and be forever grateful that I was blessed with her friendship and love. Be at peace lovely Barbara.