Helen Alice James was born September 19, 1923 on the family farm in Barclay Township in Black Hawk County, the daughter of Charles and Leona (Bruane) Lava. She grew up in the area and graduated from Jesup High School and Upper Iowa University with a B. S. Degree. Helen taught in various elementary schools in Iowa for twenty-three years. She was in Farnhamville, Shell Rock, Hazleton, Stanley and Oelwein. On November 15, 1945 she was united in marriage to Keith James in Nashville, Tennessee. They farmed in the Stanley area and belonged to the Stanley Union Church for over fifty years. Helen was a Sunday school teacher and active in the Ladies Aid. She was also a member of the Oelwein Retired Teachers Association.
Helen is survived by her husband, Keith James, her children, Greg James and his wife, Artis of Aurora, Iowa, Marcia and her husband Doug Rueber of Arlington, Iowa and Michelle and her husband, Paul Gutowsky of Richmond, Texas. Her eight grandchildren, Kara (Brad) Schmith, Angie (Michael) Amenta, Bob James, Jim James, Laurie Rueber, Michael Rueber and Brian and Amanda Gutowsky, and her five great grandchildren, Jacob James, Ben Schmith, Jenna Schmith and Vincent and Evie Amenta. She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles and Leona, two brothers, John and Basil Lava and two sisters, Lela Kalenske and Audrey Frost.