Deana Deakins James, 74, of Hixson passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, December 17, 2020. Preceded in death by her parents, Harry C. and Pansy A. Deakins.

Deana was a beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend to so many people, both near and far. Family included her husband of 50 years, George James; children, Andrew (Patty Jo) James, Suzanne (Kerry) Sweeney; grandchildren, Taylor James, Dylan James, Isabella Sweeney, Myles Sweeney, Finnegan Sweeney; and sister, Pat Burton (Clayton).

Deana was born and raised in Hixson TN. She graduated as valedictorian from Hixson High School, obtained her bachelor’s degree from University of Chattanooga, and then received her master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Georgia (UGA). It was at UGA where she met the love of her life, George James.

Deana and George were married March 7, 1970 at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Hixson and then settled in Greenbelt, MD, a suburb of Washington D.C. to work and start their family. Deana worked as a Spanish teacher and assisted at the nursery school that her children attended. She was a dedicated volunteer who generously helped with her children’s activities, from Cub Scouts to the Greenbelt Boys and Girls club and everything in between. After 15 years she and her family moved to Olathe, KS, just outside of Kansas City, MO. She taught Spanish at various schools in the area and proudly watched her two children graduate from college while there. Deana made life-long friendships wherever she lived and worked.

In 2000, Deana and her now-retired husband moved back to Hixson TN, to the very house in which she was raised. Still wanting to make a difference in children’s lives, she began teaching Spanish at Hixson Middle School where she worked in the same building as her beloved big sister Pat. Señora James taught for another 12 years and retired in 2012. During that time, she saw her two children get married, one in Texas and one in Maryland. She also saw her family grow to include five grandchildren whom she absolutely adored and spoiled. She spent as much time as possible with them, despite the miles apart (she was even known to provide Spanish tutoring over the phone to a few grandchildren). Deana was a member of St. Jude Catholic Church. She was also an active member of the Delta Kappa Gamma, International Society for Key Women Educators, where she met many friends and enjoyed their social events.

During the summers that Deana was away from Hixson, she and her family always returned to Hixson to visit. Her annual Christmas letter was a welcome update on her family’s doings over the past year. In addition to her cherished family, Deana loved shopping, ice cream, animals, reading, and crossword puzzles.

Services will be 11:00 Tuesday, July 27, at St. Jude's Catholic Church 930 Ashland Terrace, Chattanooga, TN 37415.

Deana, a singularly vibrant, generous, warm, and caring woman who was dearly loved and will be missed so very much. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to ASPCA or St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Hixson, TN.

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