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Official Obituary of

Novella Arlene Cole James

January 16, 1945 ~ August 29, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old

Novella James Obituary

NOVELLA ARLENE COLES JAMES, age 78, departed this life quietly and peacefully on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, Virginia. Novella was born January 16, 1945 in Northampton County, Virginia. She was the fifth of eleven children born to the late Carlisle and Mary Coles.

Novella received her education from Portsmouth City Schools and began her early career at Maryview Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. Later in life, she moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, met, cherished, and married Augustus Price who preceded her in death in 2004. 

After 35 years of service, Novella retired from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and moved back to Virginia. She married the late Robert James of Painter, Virginia. Robert and Novella loved and nurtured their daughter Myla whom they compassionately referred to as “Gee” or “Gigi”.

Novella joined the New Mount Zion Baptist Church in 2004 and remained a faithful member of the church until her passing. As a dedicated member of the church, she served in numerous positions including helping people in every capacity, teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, working with the culinary ministry, and leading the Praise Dancing and Men’s Stepping Groups. As a loyal member of the church, Novella continued to sing with the choir, attend church whenever she could, and financially support the young children and elders of the church.

Throughout her life, Novella, affectionately called “Teddy,” was a selfless giver and a faithful servant who dearly loved her family and friends. She enjoyed helping the young and old alike, always buying and giving gifts to others. Examples include Christmas presents, birthday presents, anniversary gifts, school clothes, breakfast, lunch, and dinners for her family members, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends. Teddy loved to have fun, laugh, joke, make others laugh and host parties and cook-outs at her home. Her kind and merry spirit transcended her challenges even through her illnesses.

She leaves to cherish her memories: a daughter, Myla; a brother, John Coles; three sisters, Minister Barbara Brickhouse, June Staton, Ph.D. (Raymond); Reverend Alice Coles; a faithful niece, Karen Stoakley; four other nieces, ten nephews; her beloved, dedicated, and devoted caregiver Cousin Peggy Giddens, her dutiful and caring neighbors, her special friends Jackie and Ernest James; her loving pastor, Reverend Dr. Charles Kellam, and a host of great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Novella Arlene Cole James, please visit our floral store.

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September 9, 2023

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
New Mount Zion
17450 Coal Kiln Road
Painter, VA 23420

Funeral Service
September 9, 2023

1:00 PM
New Mount Zion
17450 Coal Kiln Road
Painter, VA 23420


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