Walter Lee James Jr., of Salisbury, NC, esteemed husband and father passed away on March 22, 2021. He was born in Long Island, New York to Delores DeVane and Walter Lee James Sr. on September 19, 1959.
“Snooky,” as he became affectionately known, was raised in Jacksonville, NC where he graduated from Jacksonville Senior High School and was a star athlete. It was also during this time, Snooky discovered and developed what many would come to know him for-his voice.
After leading the Cardinals through many play-off runs, the star quarterback took his talents to Kansas, where he completed one year of junior college before becoming homesick for The Old North State. It was at Catawba College where Snooky found his footing and became the first Black starting quarterback to lead the Indians. He continued to hone his voice and his knack for music and singing blossomed. Snooky was a member of the gospel choir and had roles in plays and musicals such as Cabaret, Frankenstein: The Rock Opera, and King Lear. He double majored at Catawba and with a nod to his multi-talented background, graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education and Theater Arts.
Love blossomed his senior year of college when he met a tall, wild haired beauty named Adrienne Bass. She was his match on the field as well as in life and the two married on April 14, 1984. They remained in Salisbury, NC where Snooky began working his first job post-graduation at Rouzer Motor Parts. A son, DeRyan Alexander, was born 3 years later and a daughter, Taylor Nicole, followed. Their family complete, the couple settled in Salisbury, remaining close to the college where they met.
Snooky continued to advance his career, dedicating many years of service to Delhaize America/Food Lion, CVS, and Acosta. He also found time to play flag football, basketball, softball, and continue his theater career in plays for Piedmont Players and Lee St. Theater, most recently “Hands on a Hard Body” and “Rent.” He was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated and could often be found sporting his crimson and cream.
Singing remained a constant in Snooky’s life. He sang at friends’ weddings, anniversaries, and parties and it was through these connections that he met Ladell Yates of Livehouse the Band. They were looking for a new lead singer and they wanted “the voice.” Snooky began singing with Livehouse and never looked back. With his trademark hats, Snooky could be found front and center “jumping up and down,” as he would say, with the best of them.
“Snooky” later became “Popop” when he and Adrienne became grandparents to grandsons, Legend and Dallas. Spending time with his “little buddy” and Dallas (named after his favorite team) was one of the things he enjoyed most.
Snooky is survived by his wife, Adrienne B. James, of Salisbury, NC; son, DeRyan A. James (children-Legend and Dallas) of Salisbury, NC; daughter, Taylor N. James of Wilmington, NC; siblings, Deneena, Kimbley, Felicia, Ed Lawrence, Mary Louise, Dennis, Leroy, and Victoria; a host of nieces and nephews, relatives, and friends, far and wide.
In Heaven we can hear him now, “A thousand kisses from you is never too much…”
Private Funeral Service is at 11:30 am Wednesday March 31, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church; burial will follow in the church cemetery. Public viewing will be Tuesday, 10:00 -5:00 P.M. at Rowan Funeral Services.
Rowan Funeral Services is assisting the James family.