Elizabeth E. James
November 2, 1921 – September 9, 2019
Elizabeth Ellen Godburn was born in Killingly, Connecticut to a young dentist, John LeRoy Godburn, and a loving Mother, Elizabeth Carson (Crouch) Godburn. She began to learn a life of family and caring very early when she and her Mother moved to Owings Mills to care for her Grandmother and help her Grandfather. She loved living and exploring on their large farm. After a year, she and her Mother and Aunt Fanny moved to a home on Calvert Street across from the soon to be Union Memorial Hospital. Many years later, she volunteered in the cafeteria at Union Memorial!
Once she began school, she remembered how much she loved nap time on the grass mats and graham crackers and milk for a snack. The theme of naps and snacks have stayed with her throughout her life! She always had cookies or candy with her, and she napped every day. This was probably the only time that she devoted to herself.
When she was 14, her Mother fell deeply in love with George Morvin Peters from York, Penn. Family grew with the addition of her new brother and sister, Richard S. Peters and Phyllis Jane Peters. They became “one big happy family” as she described it as they made many moves as part of the General Motors management family. Their happiest time was in Salisbury, Md.
After moving back to Baltimore and graduating from Western High School, she and her sister went to Washington College. Oh, the tales they told! It was there that she made close friends for a lifetime and met her husband to be, Charles E Fetter, Jr. She remembered his thoughtfulness in ordering her favorite flower, orange blossoms, for a corsage. They were married on November 26, 1943. She also remembered how he and his groomsmen went to the Poly City game before the wedding!
As with many of their generation, their marriage took place in 1943 even as Charlie began training for a career as an air force pilot. They enjoyed their lives together except for the bugs in New Mexico and she moved home to Baltimore when Charlie left for combat duty in Saipan. She was able to write him the exciting news that they would have a baby in the beginning of 1945. Unfortunately, he was lost in action in December 1944.
Family, friends, Church of Our Savior Lutheran Church and her new baby girl sustained her as she worked in Human Resources and began to date. Close friends introduced her to Edwin George “Jimmy” James. Their marriage in 1949 and life together brought stability, a precious son, and lots of friends. They enjoyed trips to New York with friends and many summers in Ocean City with their friends and their children.
Once both children were well established in school, she completed her Masters in Education from Loyola College and taught special education in Baltimore City and Baltimore County Public Schools (Perry Hall) for 20 years. She worked for many years even as she cared for her Mother and sister along with her family. She retired after a full career, volunteered at GBMC in the Farmhouse from 1983-2002, and enjoyed many hours of friendship with women she has known since college.
A natural leader, she was active in the Inner Wheel of Towson and President of Towson Junior Woman’s Club and the Dulaney Valley Woman’s Club (twice).
She enjoyed duckpin bowling, bridge, reading.
Ellen always cared for others with love and a smile, lived her faith, took naps, ate snacks, treasured friends and lived with grace every step of the way. She never forgot a birthday or holiday. She will always live in our hearts.
She is survived by her daughter Elizabeth “Chickie” Deegan (Michael J.), her son Edwin “Skip” James (Debra), four grandchildren Michael J. Deegan III (Rhonda), Megan Deegan Burkhart (John S.), Phillip E. James (Shellene) and Jennifer James Landsman (David). Her five great grandchildren are: Kate Burkhart, Meredith Burkhart, Sienna James, Kiera James, Lilianna Landsman.
She is also survived by nieces Patricia and Susan Peters and nephew Richard Ortega and her many life-long friends. We give very special love and thanks to Kim Carr who loved and cared for her as if she was a daughter along with all of the caring staff at Edenwald Retirement Community.