Emma Lee (James) McCleave

November 28, 1946 ~ September 23, 2023 (age 76) 76 Years Old

Emma McCleave Obituary

Emma Lee James McCleave, daughter of the late Authur James Jr. and Cora Lee Sadler James, was born on November 28, 1946, in Gastonia, North Carolina, and called to eternal rest on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at her beloved daughter’s home in Williamsburg, Virginia.

At an early age, she accepted Christ and became a member of Unity A.M.E. Zion Church, and later transferred her membership to St. Peter's A.M.E. Zion Church both in Gastonia, North Carolina.   She attended Highland High School and graduated in 1964.  In 1974, she joined the United States Army and spent twenty-one years as an active-duty soldier.  While serving in the military she received numerous commendations, achievement medals, and a Bronze Star award. She also participated in the Gulf War (Desert Storm and Desert Shield). After retiring from the military in 1995 as a Sergeant First Class (E-7), she worked at the College of William & Mary for several years where she was part of the Routine Support team. 

She was a devoted mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, daughter, sister, and aunt.  She enjoyed spending time with her family, playing BINGO and card games, traveling, shopping, and she loved her Washington Redskins (Commanders). She will be missed by all who knew her.

She is also preceded in death by two sisters, Dorothy James and Chandra Louise James; and two brothers, Gene James and Rosebud James.

Emma leaves to cherish fond memories with her two loving daughters, Chandra Upshaw (Dale) of Texas and LaDonna Cook (Shawn) of Virginia; five grandchildren, Ronnie, Nyla, DaShawn, RaShawn, and Destiny; two sisters, Shirley Woody and Connie James, of North Carolina; two brothers, Jessie James of North Carolina and Herbert James, of Bronx, New York; and a host of other relatives and friends.

A graveside service with full military honors will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, October 2, 2023, in Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery.

Professional services entrusted to the staff of Whiting's Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185. 757-229-3011

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Graveside Service
October 2, 2023

11:00 AM
Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery
5310 Milners Rd
Suffolk, VA 23434


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