Jewel Ann James of Westfield, N.J. went home to be with the Lord on November 11, 2019, at the age of 66. She was born on September 21st, 1953 in Brooklyn New York to the late Norma Harper.
Jewel was raised in Brooklyn and lived there for 35 years and in California for 1 year prior to moving to New Jersey in 1992. She lived in Northern New Jersey in Montclair, West Orange, Scotch Plains, and Summit before settling in Westfield with her daughter and mother in 2008. She wore many hats throughout her working career, always searching for the right fit, first as a clerk at New York Hospital (now New York – Presbyterian), then as legal word processor and paraprofessional before beginning her career in real estate. She worked as an independent Licensed real property appraiser and real estate sales associate for almost thirty years, working primarily in Northern New Jersey. She was a member of the National Association of Realtors and various local real estate boards. She worked with many agencies over the years, most recently with United Real Estate. Working in real estate was one of her passions. She always sought to increase her knowledge base in various areas. She had a love of architecture, home design and home décor, and a desire to learn how one may use real estate investing, and help others do so, as a path to financial prosperity.
During the financial crisis, she expanded into the area of loss mitigation, working with clients to help them avoid foreclosure of their homes or reaching a manageable settlement with their banks, so that they may start their lives anew. It was very rewarding for her to see her clients get a fresh start in very difficult circumstances and know that she had some small part in their success. She also loved working independently and having the ability to spend part of day out-of-doors, especially in more rural parts of New Jersey, discovering new neighborhoods, hidden parks and lakes, and new plant nurseries along the way. One of her great joys was working in her garden, caring for her roses and flower beds and finding new varieties of flowers to put in pots in the backyard.
Spending time with her family was first and foremost to her other activities and interest. She was a dedicated caretaker to her mother from the time she developed dementia and could no longer live alone in 2006 until her death in 2012. She was a devoted mother and friend, living with her only daughter, Dara, for the entirety of her life.
Jewel was always a student of life, and of a multitude of spiritual concepts and teachings. Though baptized as a Roman Catholic, she became a member of the Unity Church and later, the Universal Foundation for Better Living, during her childhood and young adulthood. As an adult, she continued to explore and further her spiritual life thru various multidisciplinary teachings and work with various thought leaders over the years. She desired to learn how best to live more consciously, thoughtfully, manifest the best that life has to offer and live a life filled with gratitude. Her spiritual practice of faith through prayer, meditation and other alternative healing modalities helped her to remain hopeful and optimistic as she navigated her health struggles towards the end of her life.
Jewel was a quiet person, but often listening. She was thoughtful and always willing to share sound, straightforward advice and whatever she’s learned along the way. There were many of her close friends and family who did not know the gravity of her illness for a long time. She herself did not wish to dwell on those things, always hopeful for a better outcome, and wished to be known however you knew her best – a lover of books, good food, ready to laugh, loyal and steady, a love of travel, a wise counselor, a good friend, a devoted mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin.
Jewel leaves behind to remember her and celebrate her life: her devoted daughter Dara Coles; sister Patricia Hodge; step-brother Aldwin Harper; step-sister Ertha Billy; nephew Omari Hodge, his wife Kiera Hodge, their children Omari Hodge II, Sydney, Kiari, and Asia and a host of dear relatives and friends.
While we are saddened at Jewel’s passing, we rejoice in her life that was well lived. The world is a better place because she was here. Take your rest now. We love you.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Bradley, Smith & Smith Funeral Home, 415 Morris Avenue, Springfield, on Saturday, November 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The gathering will begin at 11:00 a.m. with a prayer service at 12:00 p.m. followed by a repast in the funeral home where family and friends will break bread and enjoy stories and memories of Jewel.
We would like to thank the many doctors, nurses and therapists, social workers, and other staff who cared for Mom at University Hospital, CINJ and Robert Wood Johnson Hospital (notably Doctors Houck, Gibbon, Rodriguez, Girda, Maloney –Patel, Elsamra), Holy Redeemer Homecare and Hospice, Cranford Rehab and Nursing, Overlook Hospital and Atlantic Homecare and Hospice.
But most of all, we want to thank all of you who called to check on Jewel and Dara. Those calls provided an unimagined amount of support, a good word, a prayer, a telephonic smile that just continued to help keep the family going through the days of Jewel’s illness whether you knew of it or not. The angels know who they are.
In lieu of flowers, should friends desire, memorial donations may be sent to:
The Foundation for Women’s Cancer
In Memory of Jewel A. James
Donate by Mail: You can also mail a Donation Form with your check or money order:
(payable to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer)
Foundation for Women’s Cancer
230 W. Monroe, Suite 710, Chicago, Illinois 60606.
Rutgers: Cancer Institute of New Jersey
In Memory of Jewel A. James
Donate by Phone: To charge your gift using MasterCard, Visa or American Express, call the Development office at 848-932-8013.
Donate by Mail: You can mail a Donation Form and mail it, along with your credit card information or check to:
The Rutgers University Foundation – CINJ
335 George Street, Suite 4000, Liberty Plaza
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
Please make checks payable to: