“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10
Eunice Odell Weeks James was the embodiment of a virtuous woman. She lived by strong Christian
values and faced adversity with faith and graciousness. Her family considered her their rock of strength
relying on her for comfort and wisdom. Her unconditional love extended to everyone. Odell had a special
relationship with her four surviving children, granddaughters and great-grandchildren. Every one of them
came to see their granny as her life ended.
Odell was called home on June 5, 2023 in Beaumont, Texas. She was born in Shelby County, Texas on
January 9, 1928, to Tassie Sample Weeks and Otha Weeks. Her family moved to Marthaville, Louisiana
when she was a child. It was there she met Earl Eugene James in the fifth grade. She said she knew he
was a mischievous little boy, but she was mesmerized by his sky blue eyes and knew one day he would be
her husband. Over the years, their relationship grew even after Earl enlisted in the Army in October,
1943. While he was away, Odell played high school sports and was a cheerleader. After graduation, she
enrolled in beauty school and waited for the war to end. One day, she received a letter from Earl saying he
wanted to box professionally after the war and broke up with her. After she burned all his letters, she went
back to school. A chance encounter in town after he came home rekindled their romance. On May 10,
1947, Odell and Earl eloped with her mama’s egg money.
They began their family right away having four children in five years. Odell and the children followed
Earl to oil fields across the south until he was diagnosed with polio in 1950. She drove Earl to Shreveport
for months while he received treatment. Thankfully, polio didn’t keep Earl from getting a job at Mobil Oil
in Beaumont in 1951. Tragedy struck in 1955 when their five-year-old son, Earl Eugene, Jr, died
suddenly. However, even though they were devastated, Odell and Earl knew they had three children to
raise and again, they moved on. Earl was a shift worker, so the responsibility of driving kids to school,
practices and dental and doctor appointments fell on her. Odell was always at any activity in which her
kids participated. She was their biggest cheerleader often sitting in rain and cold to watch them play and
dance. Odell was an accomplished seamstress, creating beautiful school clothing for her girls. The boys
always wore starched and ironed jeans to school. She cooked three delicious meals a day for her family
every day. Even with the business of raising kids and work, Earl and Odell still mourned the boy they
lost. In 1962, God blessed them with a son, and their little family was complete until the older children
married. They welcomed their new sons and daughters with open arms. Before long, their granddaughters
would also bless them with more sons and great-grandchildren. Odell was dealt another devastating blow
when Earl died in 2010.
As she had always done, Odell faced Earl’s death with grace and determination to embrace the next
chapter of her life. She loved babysitting her grandchildren, so she looked forward to babysitting her
great-grandchildren whenever she could. Granny read books to them, colored with them and rocked them
to sleep. Odell was known for her fluffy biscuits, so on any given day, family dropped in for breakfast and
fought over middle biscuits. Her cornbread dressing was the star dish of holidays; therefore, she made
double batches, so everyone went home with leftovers. Each one of her family had a quilt she made by
hand. At Christmas, her granddaughters received embroidered pillow cases, tea towels, aprons or
something special she made. Odell hated the Covid Pandemic mostly because it interrupted family
gatherings. It also caused her to stop her routine of shopping and eating lunch at her favorite restaurants.
After the pandemic, her little legs began to wear out, so she used a walker to “run the roads”. Even at
ninety-five, she never slowed down until God called her.
Family members who passed before her are her parents Tassie and Otha Weeks; son Earl Eugene, Jr;
husband, Earl Eugene James; and brothers: James Nelson; Buford Lester Weeks; Billy Joy Weeks and Ray Benjamin Weeks.
Surviving family includes Theresa Ferguson of Mobile, Alabama; Vickie Gray and
husband, Vick Gray of Kountze, Texas; Denny Wayne James and his wife, Joy of Beaumont, Texas and
Dale James and wife, Ellen of Port Acres, Texas. Granddaughters include Tracy Hartman and husband,
James of Spanish Fort, Alabama; Belinda Sheffield and husband, Quinton of Kountze, Texas; Rachel
Flowers and husband Kenneth of Lumberton, Texas; Dottie LeBlanc and husband, Matt of New
Braunfels, Texas; Annie James and husband, Mark of Beaumont, Texas; Kallie Kolartz of Lumberton,
Texas; Molly James of Austin, Texas and Taylor Godwin of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Great-
grandchildren are Ty Hartman of Auburn, Alabama; Lyssa and Preston Sheffield of Kountze, Texas; Lilee
and Jackson Flowers of Lumberton. Texas; Ava James of Lumberton, Texas; Ella LeBlanc of New
Braunfels, Texas and Manning James of Beaumont, Texas.
A graveside service for family and close friends is scheduled for Friday, June 9 at 11:00am at Beulah
Methodist Cemetery, Natchitoches Parish, La.