KCCO recently lost a friend and long-time supporter of the orchestra, Carl James.
Carl Ray James, 92, of Kansas City, passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 12, 2020.
Carl was born on July 3, 1928 to Glendon Otis and Martha Anna (Stone) James in Kansas City, MO. While working for the Dictaphone Company, Carl met Frances Marie Smith. They were married on November 1, 1953 at Roanoke Methodist church by Frances’ father, the Rev. J. Roy Smith. Carl is survived by his sons, David (MaryAnn), Donald (Lorinda), and his three grandchildren, Jordan, Nicolas, and Anna.
As a young man, Carl served in the US Air Force, stationed in South America. After marrying Frances, they operated their own typesetting and slide presentation business, Commercial Photocomposition, in midtown Kansas City. Carl enjoyed continually learning new technology as their industry evolved over the decades.
Carl and Frances were active members of Broadway United Methodist church. Carl was appointed leader of the Pathfinders Sunday school. It was a position which he was proud of and referred to himself as their “Benevolent Dictator”. He was also active in the OK Klub, a social group within the church, and once helped produce, with some of his lifelong friends, a comedic film as entertainment at their Christmas dinner.
When his children were young, he enjoyed family camping vacations to Rocky Mountain NP, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. He also loved the time he spent with his family and friends at a small yellow house on Table Rock Lake. It was at the lake house that he started the tradition of cooking buckwheat pancake breakfasts for all the relatives and friends, and the little house became known as the YHOP, “Yellow House of Pancakes.”
Carl was a self-taught musician and had a great love of music. He and Frances attended the very first concert of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, and later in life became involved the orchestra as a board member and ardent supporter.
Carl was very loyal and dedicated to his friends. He participated in a monthly poker game with the same group of friends for nearly 60 years. He also enjoyed competitive arguing with his mother in law’s brother, Harold. He was proud that he lived to the age of 92 so Harold couldn’t beat him at longevity. Many people will remember Carl for his nearly monthly newsletter which he called “Random Thoughts” and also his love of dark chocolate.
Carl was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Glendon, his sister Naomi, a half-brother Bill, and his wife of 63 years, Frances.
There will be a memorial service celebrating Carl’s life when we can safely gather again.
Memorial contributions may be made online or mailed to:
Kansas City Civic Orchestra
PO Box 224
Shawnee Mission, KS 66201
Penwell-Gabel – Planning Center (913-232-7334) is assisting the family.