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Versa Marie James

Versa Marie James, 72, daughter of Mansel and Nancy Edna (Ward) Coats, was born on May 10, 1936 at the family home near Cabool, Missouri. She passed away suddenly on March 17, 2009 at Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, Missouri, surrounded by her family.

Versa was preceded in death by her father, Mansel, and a daughter, Lea Marie.

She is survived by her mother, Nancy Edna of Houston; two daughters, Maris Herndon of Columbia, Missouri, and Nancy Moger of Carl Junction, Missouri; son-in-laws Royce Herndon and Bob Moger; grandchildren Marissa Herndon Gaither, Victoria Beth Moger, Karissa Herndon, Kelsie Moger and R.C. Moger; her sister, Marilyn Ice and husband Cody of Houston; and a nephew, Cody William Ice, II, wife Joyce and family.

She was married to Ted James on August 3, 1957 at Union Church, Cabool, Missouri.

Versa was baptized after a revival at Union Church in January 1951 on Little Piney River at Flat Rocks.

Versa attended Union Elementary School and graduated from Houston High School in 1954. She was valedictorian of her class and went on to college at Southwest Missouri State University and graduated from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, with a degree in elementary education. She also did some work toward obtaining a master’s degree, always wanting to continue her education.

Versa’s passion was teaching young people. She taught elementary school for several years at Plato, Missouri, and also was a faithful Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church in Houston.

She was the family caretaker. She devoted her life to caring for her daughter, Lea, when she became ill at a young age and later cared for her father and mother in their senior years.

She enjoyed learning about the family’s history and sharing it with visiting family that attended the Coats-Crawford family reunion. She and her mother, Nancy Edna, and sister Marilyn enjoyed visiting with their relatives, friends and neighbors in the Houston, Cabool, Bado, and Clara communities.

She supported Maris and Nancy in their school activities of sports, cheerleading and band. She was a gifted musician. She could play by ear any song that family and friends requested.

She enjoyed playing with her grandchildren on the family farm. She would take them on field trips to play in the Little Piney River and Hamilton Creek. She was always looking for something to teach her grandchildren.

Her family and friends will miss her smile and gentle spirit.

Memorials may be made to Union Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at

Services were held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 20, 2009, at First Baptist Church of Houston with Rev. Bob Moger and Dr. Howell Burkhead officiating. Burial was in Union Cemetery. Pallbearers were Bob Moger, Royce Herndon, Jeremy Gaither, Ward Montgomery, Jerry Montgomery and Cody William Ice, II. Services were under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.

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