Estha James passed peacefully from this life the evening of July 5, after a gradual decline in health and an extended stay at Citizen Care Rehabilitation Center. She was surrounded by her caregiver and loving extended family and friends during the last days of her life.
Estha was born in Marion, N. C., on March 8, 1919, but has been a Baltimorean since the early 1940s. She was the oldest of four children born to Angles and Bertha Mae Keeter. Both parents and siblings proceded her in death.
Estha was educated in the North Carolina Public School System and later attended Stillman Institute in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where she earned an associates degree in theology. After a brief marriage to Mr. Jessie James, Estha moved to Baltimore. After she moved to Baltimore and was employed by Crownsville State Hospital for a short time, she became an advocate for the mentally challenged and founded and operated The Keeter House (1945-2003). In that same spirit she operated a food pantry that serviced needy families throughout the city of Baltimore. She maintained a genuine heart for helping all people; she maintained wonderful relationships with her clients and their families.
Estha accepted Christ as her personal saviour at an early age in North Carolina. When she relocated to the Baltimore area she found a place to serve and worship at Sweet Hope Freewill Baptist Church for more than 40 years, Gethesemane Baptist, Brown’s Memorial and finally New Birth Freewill Baptist, and attended church faithfully until her health began to decline.
Estha was a metropolitan “Hat Diva.” She had a flare for fashion and fun. She was known for her ornate and sophisticated style in clothing and automobiles. Estha simply loved life, people and most importantly, the Lord. She is survived by her daughter, Gwendolyn Theresa Palmer; grandchildren, Damian “Sean” James (deceased), Tyree Heyward, Latosha Whiteside, Kiera Heyward, Benjamin Heyward III, and Jeremiah Palmer; great-grandchildren; grandchildren, Maryum James, Benjamin Heyward IV and Daevon Heyward, her extended family; Gregory and Betty Hewlett, Alicia Hewlett, Latease and Zoe Lashley, Melvin Allen, Tracy and Michael Campbell. Devoted friends Willie Brown, Deare Macalla and Debbie Fields.