Enola James

December 8, 1926 - October 27, 2022

Enola Schexnayder James, 95, of Nederland, died Thursday, October 27, 2022. She was born December 8, 1926, in Welcome, Louisiana, to Aimee and Walter Schexnayder.

Enola met Francis in 1937 when the James family moved from the Dominican Republic to the Louisiana west bank River Road to start up the Salsburg Sugar Refinery. Enola’s family lived on a farm on the west bank where her father was a rice and sugar cane planter. Enola and Francis attended school together and graduated from St. James High School in 1945.

After high school, Enola attended South Louisiana Institute, completing a secretarial skills program. She moved to New Orleans where she lived with her sister, Alice, and worked. When Francis returned home after eighteen months in the United States Army, he and Enola courted, became engaged, and were married September 4, 1948. Enola then worked as a secretary in the Baton Rouge state capital building while Francis went to Louisiana State University on the GI Bill.

Enola became a full-time wife, mother, and homemaker in 1951 after Bonnie was born. Debbie was born while Francis was overseas serving in the United States Army during the Korean War. Lynn was born in 1958 when the family was settled in Groves, Texas, and Francis was working as a chemical engineer at Port Arthur’s Gulf Oil Refinery.

Enola was an excellent homemaker, with a large circle of Gulf Oil and neighborhood friends. They all gathered regularly for visiting, dining, and dancing. They celebrated and supported each other’s families and enjoyed each other’s children.

Enola was a skilled seamstress. She enjoyed sewing beautiful dresses for herself and her daughters, including matching little girl holiday dresses, formal gowns for high school and college dances, and Bonnie’s wedding gown. When the grandchildren came along and Enola became Granny, she made them play clothes, special outfits, handcrafted stuffed toys, and memorable Halloween costumes. Granny needlepointed treasured Christmas stockings for each of her grandsons.

Enola was a very good cook like her mother and many friends and other relations. She enjoyed trying new recipes and preparing and sharing her favorites. She loved planning and hosting family gatherings at her home and the Toledo Bend Lake house. Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were held right up to the time of the pandemic. Granny and Paw never failed to put up a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and have wrapped gifts for the little ones to open. She was known for her delicious jambalayas, gumbos, pound cakes, fruitcakes, and holiday cookies, and especially her buttery gingerbread men. Granny always kept her cookie jar full for visiting grandchildren.

Francis’ work with Gulf Oil Refinery and Gulf Oil Research and Development took them from Port Arthur to Pittsburgh where they lived for nine years. Upon retirement, they moved to Nederland to settle near old friends, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. During Francis’ post retirement work as a refinery consultant Enola was able to travel with him to Holland and the island of Curacao where they made special friends and shared unique experiences.

For many years the Schexnayder family came together in Donaldsonville, Louisiana for summer family reunions. Enola enjoyed gathering with her children and grandchildren for the trip to visit and feast with the large extended Schexnayder family. The reunions were followed by a drive across the Mississippi River to visit with her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Trent and Kay James, at their historic Bagatelle home on the River Road. Those were wonderful times to reconnect and share memories and family history.

During later years Enola and Francis would meet her brother, Irving Schexnayder and sister-in-law, Janice, every month in Kinder to enjoy a weekend together at the casino. After the pandemic ended those trips, Enola and Janice kept in touch almost daily by phone. They shared a remarkable relationship for which the family remains very grateful.

Enola was a lifelong member of the Catholic church and especially enjoyed serving on the Women’s Guild at St. Scholastica Catholic Church in Aspinwall during her years in Pennsylvania. She and Francis were most recently members of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Nederland.

Enola… “Momma” … “Granny” was a kind, supportive, and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be remembered by all. The family feels blessed to have had her with us for so many years.

Survivors include her husband of seventy-three years, Francis James, Jr. of Nederland; children, Bonnie Walther-Conaty and husband, Chip Conaty, of Houston; Deborah James Thompson of Beaumont; and Lynn James and wife, Debra Buchanan, of Port Neches; grandchildren, Robin Walther and wife, Laurie; Carl Walther and wife, Angela; Nicholas Thompson; Trent James and wife, Jennifer; Taylor James; and Trevor James; great-grandchildren, Rebecca; Isabel; Charles; James; Samuel; Collin; Aiden; Jackson; and Branick; brother-in-law, Dr. Trent James and wife, Kay, of Baton Rouge; sister-in-law, Anne James Praetor of Las Vegas; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her parents; seven siblings including her brother, Walter, who was killed in action during World War II; and son-in-law, C. Peter Walther.

A gathering of Mrs. James’ family and friends will be 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., with a Rosary recited at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at Broussard’s, 505 North 12th Street, Nederland. Her funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at Broussard’s, with her interment to follow at Oak Bluff Memorial Park, Port Neches.

Memorial contributions in honor of Mrs. James may be made to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 211 Hardy Avenue, Nederland, Texas 77627.


Download Program

Gathering of Family and Friends

Broussard’s Mortuary Nederland
  • 505, North 12th Street, Nederland, Texas, 77627,
  • November 1, 2022
  • 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Broussard’s Mortuary Nederland
  • 505, North 12th Street, Nederland, Texas, 77627,
  • November 1, 2022
  • 5:00 pm

Funeral Service

Broussard’s Mortuary Nederland
  • 505, North 12th Street, Nederland, Texas, 77627,
  • November 2, 2022
  • 10:30 am


Oak Bluff Memorial Park
  • 100, Block St, Port Neches, TX, 77651,

Comments (3)

    Rita Fields, MD says:

    To Lynn & Family,
    I was sad to read about your dear mother’s death. It was a pleasure and an honor to have known her.

    Janet and Glenn Johnson says:

    Lynn, Mr Francis and families,
    I’m so sorry to hear of Ms James’ passing. Always a lady and never passed me by without asking about my family. Not only did I meet her through her family years ago But, she was also my customer at Walmart. I always enjoyed our brief visit when her and Mr James would come do their shopping.
    I know she will be greatly missed. She loved her family. RIP Mrs Enola James❤️🙏🏻

    Janice says:

    I’m very heartbroken with the loss of my dear Enola. I’ll always cherish the wonderful memories of Irv and I and Francis and Enola visiting and meeting at the casino. She always made me feel special-she would call me her “little sister”. Love and prayers to all the family.

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