In Memory of
Darlene Marie Hornung James

Darlene James, “Nana,” died in her sleep of natural causes on December 6, 2022.  Darlene lived a full 92 ½ years as a beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher, and friend to all she knew. We rejoice that she is now reunited in heaven with those loved ones who have preceded her.

Darlene was born in Perry, Texas on June 12, 1930, to her loving parents, Reverend Walter and Helen Hornung. She grew up with her older sister, Viola, in Methodist parsonages in the central Texas Hill Country and graduated from Mason High School in 1947.  She graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos with a bachelor's degree in education in 1950 and taught at the Campus Elementary School in San Marcos. 

On New Year’s Eve in 1951, she met the love of her life, Army 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Z. James, II. Their first date, a blind one, was to a German social hall in Fredericksburg, Texas that Darlene forever thereafter described as a “honky-tonk.”  The two were smitten and were married 3½ months later by her father on March 22, 1952 in the Hilda Methodist Church.

Darlene spent almost 20 years as an Army wife with tours in Alaska, Missouri, Texas, South Vietnam, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, and Germany.  Notably, Darlene stayed state-side and managed the family while Thomas spent year-long tours in Korea and Vietnam.  When Thomas retired from the Army in 1971, the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where they lived for the next 37 years.  Their last move was to Houston in 2008 to be near family where they joined Memorial Drive United Methodist Church. After over 68 years of marriage, Thomas died of natural causes on January 8, 2021, preceding Darlene in death by 23 months.

Darlene was a lifelong Methodist and disciple of Jesus Christ.  Her sincere devotion to His worship and service was reflected in her passionate love of her family, of other people, and of the beauty He designed into nature, art, music, travel, and life in general.  Wherever she lived, she was active in the church, schools, and community.  For many years, she worked at the State Fair of Texas in the Creative Arts Department and at Dallas County Community Colleges, where she took every art class offered.  She also enjoyed exercising her mental faculties through her devotion to working jigsaw and Sudoku puzzles. 

Perhaps Darlene’s most beloved tradition is the annual James family beach trip at Surfside Beach, Texas.  As a child, she loved going to the beach with her parents and relatives so in 1993, Darlene made a reservation at a small beach house and invited her family to join her.  The James family has continued to gather every summer for 30 years at the beach Nana so loved.  

Darlene is preceded in death by her parents Walter and Helen Hornung; sister Viola Faseler of Moore, Texas; her husband Thomas James of Houston; her daughter Cathy Gealy of Kuna, Idaho; and by two grandsons Tommy James and Cameron James, both of Houston.  

She is survived by son Tom III (Nancy) James and son Mark (Suzie) James both of Houston; Cathy’s husband Dan Gealy; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Texas Children's Hospital. (