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Old 05-11-2007, 06:18 PM
GyBill GyBill is offline
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Ira Vernard James, AKA "Doc the Clown," 81, of Colonial Heights, VA

Ira Vernard James, AKA "Doc the Clown," 81, of Colonial Heights entered eternal, peaceful rest Saturday morning, May 5, 2007, at John Randolph Medical Center following a lengthy illness.

Mr. James was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Emmett Sr. and Pearl Ellen Roby James; his beloved wife of 47 years, Helen Pannier James; five brothers and three sisters. He was educated in the Petersburg Public School System. Mr. James then bravely and proudly served his country as a navigator/bombardier with the United States Marine Corps during WWII, where he received an honorable discharge. He later retired as an operator from Allied Signal (the Whitehall Tech Center). Mr. James was also a member of the Colonial Heights Optimist Club, American Legion Post 284, the Virginia Clown Alley, and Clowns of America International Inc. He was a faithful servant unto the Lord, while in good health, at Blandford United Methodist Church in Petersburg.

But Mr. James will always be remembered by his loyal friends and those who did not really know him personally for his legacy as "Doc the Clown" (or more simply put, the clown who drove his "bathtub outhouse" in the Christmas parades at Richmond, Colonial Heights and Petersburg). "Doc" especially delighted in making many a child smile by entertaining them personally at their birthday parties. He likewise put a smile on many an adult face by performing his routines at numerous civic events and assisted living facilities. But it was "Doc's" penchant for turning a sad or somber face into a radiant, glowing one with his unique style of humor that will sorely be missed by many in the days and months to come.

Mr. James is survived by a son, Duane James of Colonial Heights; three beloved nieces, Linda Thore of Chester, Robbie Martin of Colonial Heights and Peggy Zuckero of Prince George; a nephew, Edward James of Chesterfield; a brother-in-law, Charles Pannier of Prince George; two "adopted granddaughters," Stacey and Lindsay Coggins of Sanford, N.C.; two devoted lifelong friends, Karl and Frances Dingledine of Petersburg; and numerous other relatives.

The family will receive friends and loved ones at the Colonial Heights Chapel of the E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes and Crematory, 2033 Boulevard, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, 2007. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, 2007, at Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg, with the Rev. Mary White. A reception celebrating Mr. James' entering the kingdom of heaven will follow at Blandford United Methodist Church, 11607 S. Crater Road, Petersburg, VA 23805 with everyone invited.

Contributions may be made on Mr. James' behalf to the Blandford United Methodist Church Building Fund or the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 5216, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5216.

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