Mary James
May 26, 1941 - April 3, 2022

Mary  James

Mary James
May 26, 1941 - Apr 3, 2022

Mary  James
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It is with sadness that the family of Mary Delight (McGregor) James announce that she passed peacefully on April 3, 2022. Mary was born on May 26, 1941 to Archibald Leslie and Retta (Ewalt) McGregor in Mankato, MN. She lived for her childhood on Aberfoyle Farm in Mapleton, MN. She had two brothers, Byron (Pat) McGregor and Duncan McGregor. Mary grew up dancing the Scottish Highland Fling and Sword dances to bagpipes (sometimes played by her brother Pat), playing with Lady Inkspot and Sweet William, the goats, being involved in 4-H, and playing piano and the flute. She was a member, growing up, of the United Church of Mapleton.

Mary attended Iowa State University and received her Bachelor's of Science degree in Home Economics, with a focus on Applied Art in July 1963. A week later Mary married William David James in Mapleton, MN, and they made their home in Ames, IA. To this marriage came three children, Kevin David, Heather Lynn and Kara Delight. Mary worked for a time for Iowa State University in the Home Economics department and the ISU Library before being a full-time mother and homemaker. She was an active part of the ISU Women's Club (especially the Art and About and Gourmet divisions) and PEO. She was an active member of Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames, where she served for many years as a Deacon and, for a time, as visitation coordinator. In 1988, Mary and Bill opened From Gifted Hands Gallery, a contemporary art gallery, at two different locations in downtown Ames. Mary's creative spirit was a joy to so many. She loved campfires on the shores of Lake Superior, travelling around the world, and spending time with her family.

She is survived by her children, Kevin (Pearl You) James, of Mountain View, CA, Heather James, of Ames, IA, and Kara (Tony) Hillhouse, of Lincoln, NE; one grandson, Ronan James-Estenson, of Lincoln, NE; a bonus granddaughter, Carmen Hillhouse, of Lincoln, NE; two brothers, Pat (Karen) McGregor, of Mankato, MN and Duncan (Judie, deceased) McGregor, of Mapleton, MN; two nieces, three nephews, and numerous great-nephews and -nieces. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband. A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at Collegiate Presbyterian Church, in Ames, Iowa, on April 28th 2022, at 4:00 p.m. with a reception to follow. Memorials will be given to Town and Gown Chamber Music Association and Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance.

Online condolences can be made to

Kathy Svec on Apr 27, 2022

I got to know Mary as the proprietor of From Gifted Hands. Her stewardship of beautiful objects from talented people added so much richness to my life! I have a number of lovely things in my home from the curated feast of objects that she featured in her store - and I think of her whenever I look at them. She was also supportive of me as an artist, and invited me to talk about my work to several of the groups she was associated with. I admired the development of her "Art and About" series for her ISU Women's Club cohorts - she enriched so many lives through her interest in art! Thank you Mary - you will be so, so missed ---- Kathy Svec, Ames

Loir Peterson Ernst on Apr 12, 2022

Mary and I were roommates and friends at ISU. Mary reached out to me when she was diagnosed. We texted almost daily from that day until she could no longer respond. What a gift of continued friendship she gave me to share in this difficult time. We reminisced about our whole lives and shared on a deeper level than ever before. She was so proud of her children (Kevin, Heather, and Kara ) and their accomplishments, she cherished her relationships with her brothers, (Pat and Duncan), and her faith in God sustained her and gave her joy and peace to the very end. It is with a heavy heart I said good bye to my sweet Mary, but the memories will be with me until we meet again. Prayers for all of you continue and may peace sustain you. She was a brave heart. Love multiplied for each of you. You have my sympathy. Lori Peterson Ernst

Angie Mowery on Apr 8, 2022

Heather, I wanted to let you know that you have my sympathy during this time of loss. I pray you find comfort in the memories and peace. God Bless, Angie (Kennedy) Mowery

betty anderson, long-time friend and fellow Applie on Apr 5, 2022

When Bill and I learned of Mary's illness a few weeks ago it made our hearts ache. Our time at ISU preceded Mary's, but we are contemporaries of her husband Bill, and it was through him that we became acquainted with Mary. Over the years we had many wonderful visits with them, and after Bill was gone we continued to stay in contact with Mary. When we were occasionally in Ames we loved seeing them and visiting their shop! We very much admired Mary's talent; she had an incredible eye for all things "art!" Kevin, Heather, and Kara -- you had great parents! I know they have been very proud of you!
Betty Anderson

Dana Fischer on Apr 4, 2022

I find great sadness in Mary’s passing. She was one of the sweetest and kindest people I have ever met. We kept in touch during Covid but planned on getting together when “the coast was clear. Unfortunately God had other plans for Mary. It is from Mary, I learned to not put off seeing people. We don’t know what tomorrow May bring. Blessings to her family.



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Collegiate Presbyterian Church
159 North Sheldon Ave
Ames, IA 50014
4:00 PM

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