Robert Alan James
In Huntsville, AL
Robert Alan James (Alan), the toughest man we ever met, died quietly in his sleep Friday morning, February 4, just before the alarm was supposed to go off. Alan suffered from Crohn’s disease, autoimmune deficiencies, short gut syndrome, and end-stage renal failure. Diagnosed in 1983 with Crohn’s, Alan lived his life dodging one health crisis after another, fighting off tough infections, and working through it all, loudly proclaiming, “I’m too mean to die!” every time anyone even suggested it was the end.
Alan was born Huntsville, Al, in January of 1959 to Robert and Gloria James, who precede him in death. He has two siblings, Alesia (Ben)Waugh and Ashley James. He attended Vestavia Hills High School until his senior year when his family moved to Kentucky. He finished high school at Rogers Clark High School in Winchester, KY. Upon graduation, he moved back to Huntsville and worked at South Central Bell until 1997 when he left to begin his own telecommunications business, Maverick Communications, LLC. He worked in some capacity in the telecommunications industry until his death.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Mary Donnelly James, his daughter Tracey, and his grandchildren Mya, Leah, and KJ. His half-brother, Jason Viana (Nicola) and their sons. He is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews in Alabama, including Virginia and Caroline Luck, Stella, Isla, and Max Donnelly, and Mark Sweat Jr. (Katie), Daniel Sweat, and Matthew Sweat. Our west-coast relatives, include 9 other nieces and nephews whom he did not really get to know well, as well as a host of cousins and second cousins scattered around the country. He had a host of cousins, second cousins, and a multitude of friends.
He specifically asked for these folks to be mentioned in his obituary because they were so special to him: Dr. Richard T. McGlaughlin (his gastroenterologist and good friend for 36 years); Therese and Mark Sweat (his sister-in-law and her husband who have literally saved us from destruction over the past two years; Dennis and Summer Donnelly (his brother in law and his wife and his wife, who worked with him, helped care for our kids, loved and understood him unconditionally, and helped us through each crisis); and Brian Holliman (One of Alan’s dearest friends, coworkers, and confidants).
Alan was adamant about not wanting a formal funeral. He asked that we plan a Celebration of Life where we laugh, tell stories, eat his favorite foods, drink his favorite beverages, tell Alan James stories and share Alan James sarcastic one-liners. The date and location of the Celebration of Life will be announced within a week.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, The Alabama Kidney Foundation, or the Big Oak Ranch.
Survivors: Mary Donnelly James, spouse; Daughters: Mya James, Aliyah (Leah) James, Tracey James; Son; Kendrick Alan (KJ) James
Parents: Robert Lee James (deceased) Gloria Lambert James (deceased)
Brothers: Ashley C, James and Jason Viana
Sister: Alesia James Waugh
The date and location of the Celebration of Life will be announced within a week.