Darrell Gene James
April 7, 1942 – April 13, 2018
Darrell Gene James was born in Eugene, OR on April 7th, 1942. The family relocated to Bremerton, WA where he graduated from high school in 1960. He went on to attend Whitworth University majoring in music. It was there that he met his lifelong love and partner Anna Lee Hendrickson. Upon graduating they married in June of 1964. Darrell started his teaching career in Springdale, WA, then to Oahu, HI, and Ione, OR. In 1972 Darrell moved his family to Turner, OR to teach choir at Cascade High School, which proved to be his dream job. He loved the Cougar community and believed every student could sing. He was often found in the halls recruiting unlikely choir members. To his delight many joined and realized in fact, they could sing. It is also here that he and Anna lee settled and raised their two sons, Jeff and Joel.
Upon retiring from teaching at Cascade in 1984 Darrell went onto seminary school where became a Diaconal Minister of music in the Methodist Church. Throughout his teaching career in each city he resided he also was a Choir Director or organist for a local church. Locally he lead worship at Jason Lee, Trinity United & Albany First Methodist churches, Our Savior’s Lutheran, and Evergreen Presbyterian.
In 1985 he founded the Salem Boys Choir where he remained Director until its end in 2009. He influenced hundreds of boys aged 8-18 love of music and performing with performances staged locally, nationally and abroad, as far away as London, Austria and the Czech Republic. A favorite local production was the annual medley musical of Boys on Broadway.
In recent years he expanded his music ministry as a volunteer at Oregon State Penitentiary and Santiam Correctional Facility where he lead inmate choral groups. He found great joy influencing lives for the better through his love of music.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years Anna Lee, sons Jeff (Cecilia), Joel (Brooke), grandchildren Sarah, Natalie, McKenna, Carter, Halle, Hilary, DJ, Bella & Cy James.
He is preceded in death by his parents Orville & Gilda, brothers Doug & Dan, and grandson Connor Joel.
A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday April 29th, at 3pm at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Salem. Due to Darrell’s heart for the homeless and mentally ill we ask that donations be made to Union Gospel Mission of Salem.