MADILL — Virginia Louise Hale James, 89, passed away June 3, 2017, at her home in Madill, after a long illness. Louise was born Jan. 11, 1928 in Mountain View, Okla., to the late Floyd Edward Smith and Vera Viola (Wellman) Smith. Louise was raised in the Kingston area along with one sister and three brothers. In 1943, Louise met and married Kenneth Hale in Madill, he preceded her in death in 1979 after 35 years of marriage. Kenneth worked for Frix and Brisch Construction Company building highways across Oklahoma.  In 1958 the family moved back to Madill where Louise lived the remainder of her life. In 1959, Louise went to work at the Madill Manufacturing Company, making men’s slacks and shorts, holding the positions of trainer, pinch-hitter, repairs and as a supervisor before retiring after 32 years in 1992.

Louise met and married Bill James in 1981 and he preceded her in death after 10 years of marriage in 1991.

Louise was a faithful member of the Church of Christ, where she enjoyed participating in vacation bible school, ladies bible class and singing with the Church of Christ choir at numerous funerals.

She was an active member of the Horizon Club and an avid traveler, visiting many exotic places and numerous countries, with a collection of 54 photo albums to prove she had a good time. If Vicki Quimby called or sent a flyer saying the Horizon Club bus was going anywhere, Louise packed her bags and was ready to see all the exciting places she had read about as a girl. She was so excited about her travels, she shared her love of travel by taking each graduating grandchild on a trip with her for their graduation present. 

She loved to read romance novels, watch old TCM movies, the Hallmark channel, and every western shown on channel 342. She had a large collection of books and movies, her favorite movie star was of course, John Wayne, with many photos of him decorating her bedroom wall.

But her real passion was making quilts. Her quilt collection was not limited to simple quilts, but to elaborately embroidered or hand appliquéd quilts. Her log cabin patterns were exceptional. The harder the pattern, the better. Her last quilt show, held at the Church of Christ fellowship hall, displayed some 58 quilts, all of them hand quilted, and most of her quilts received either a “Blue Ribbon” or “Grand Champion Ribbon” from the Marshall County Free Fair.

Louise was a long-time member of the Madill Round-Up Club and a past secretary of the Round-Up Club, where she was known for her excellence in sewing. She made not only matching vests, but matching saddle blankets for her fellow club members.

Louise was a wonderful cook. She loved preparing mouthwatering meals for her large family and friends. She was famous for her pecan pie and her hand cranked strawberry ice cream. Her favorite ingredients were salt, pepper and butter. Her cooking was so famous all her kids and grandkids have a “Grandma Lou Favorite Recipe Cookbook”. 

She is survived by her six children: Maurine Rigsby and husband Larry, of Madill, Marilyn Stowers and husband Gary, of Madill, Kenneth (Bud) Hale and wife Terri, of Madill, Dr. Gerald Hale and wife Janie, of Tulsa, Monte Hale and wife Jan, of Bartlesville, Leslie Hale and wife Nancy, of Lone Grove; 16 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and six great-great- grandchildren; sister, Violet Lea Mansfield; brothers, Floyd Edward (Sonny) Smith and wife Norma, Leroy Smith and wife, Mary, Charles Smith and wife Mary; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins scattered all over the state of Okla. 

Preceding her in death: husbands Kenneth Hale and Bill James, parents Floyd and Vera Smith, In-laws C.I. (Ike) and Susie Hale, In-laws C.D. Hale and wife Martha Hale Cunningham, In laws Gene and Lola Mae Hale, In-law Voyd Emory, nephews Allen Hale and Gregory Hale, niece Linda Emory, nephew David Emory.

Casket Bearers: Chris Rathbun, Lonnie Goff, John Thomas, Terry Eldridge, Jerry Eldridge, Steve Stanley.

Honorary Bearers: Walter Baber, Jerry Radde, Calvin Ray Harkins, Dale Scribner, Robert Lowe, J.W. Bennett

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Watts Funeral Home in Madill, with a family hour from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Services will be at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, June 8, 2017, at the Watts Memorial Chapel, Madill. Erick Henson will officiate the services. Music arranged by Church of Christ Singers. Interment will be at the Woodberry-Forest Cemetery, Madill. Services will be under the direction of Watts Funeral Home, Madill. Condolences may be sent to wattsfuneralhome.com.