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July 14, 2014

Raymond D. James Jr.

Ada —

The family will host a celebration of the life of Raymond D. James Jr. at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 23rd, his birthday, at the First Presbyterian Church in Ada, OK.

Mr. James died July 11. He was born August 23, 1930, in Oklahoma City to Raymond Darrel and Ruth Jane High James.  He attended public school in Hugo, Antlers and Oklahoma City; graduating high school from Classen High in 1948. Mr. James studied architecture at the University of Oklahoma with Bruce Goff, graduating with honors in 1957. At OU he was a member of the Air Force ROTC and OU Ruf/Neks. Marilyn Francis Strong and he married on November 8, 1952, in Okemah. Mr. James served as a lieutenant in the Air Photographic and Charting Services at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio from 1953 to 1956.

Mr. James and his family moved to Ada in 1959 to work for Albert Ross.  He later formed a partnership, Parker James Parker, with Monroe and Robert Parker.  Then he established Ray James and Associates, from which he retired in 1995.  Throughout his career, Mr. James viewed architecture in utopian terms and devoted his skills for social change.  Early work focused on a new modern aesthetics and later shifted to affordable housing, educational and community projects.  During this 35 years' progression, Mr. James designed the East Central University Kerr Activity Center, the Indian Hills Restaurant, the ECU Linscheid Library, the Pontotoc County Agri-Plex and Convention Center, the Chickasaw Nation Headquarters and affordable Chickasaw housing. While working as an architect, Gary Cooper, Glenn Childress, Ernie Woodward, Deryl Redden, Rick Shaw, Tom Lamson, Wayne Bean and Eldis Wood apprenticed with Mr. James.

Mr. James brought his love of creativity and a good design challenge into the home where he raised three children, Rahmona, Lynn and Todd, with Marilyn.  They loved him for his endless curiosity and for challenging them to think in original ways.

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