Sis. Virlee “Nana” Bibbs was born to Rev. Hamice R. James, Sr. and Bettie White James on Saturday, August 7, 1927 in La Grange, Texas (Rabbs Prairie Community). She was the second of four children. She attended Rabbs Prairie Community Elementary School and her teacher, Mrs. Annie Cook, the wife of Dr. Cook would go to her home every Friday to give her piano lessons and that is when she began her musical journey. After graduating from elementary school, she attended La Grange Randolph High School where she was a school reporter until 1942 when her family moved to San Antonio, Texas. She studied music under the guidance of Mrs. Estella Crumplin and the late Rev. Robert Miller. She also attended St. Philips and Guadalupe Theological College.
Sis Bibbs was employed at Franklin's Ready to Wear on E. Houston St. in San Antonio, JJ JJ' Texas for 23 years. She later retired after the store was sold to another franchise. She was also employed at Patient Child Service for three years until her husband became ill. At that time, she would occasionally substitute teach for the San Antonio Independent School District, St. Margaret Mary Catholic School and Our Lady of Victory Catholic School.
Sis Bibbs was a woman of faith, loved the Lord and her family. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior at an early age and was baptized at New Zion Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Rev. Ernest Pool. She later joined Shiloh Baptist Church along with her entire family under the leadership of the late Rev. S.E. Steward until 1954. She became a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church under the leadership and founder her father the late, Rev. Hamice R. James Sr. and was a charter member of over 65 plus years. Sis Bibbs was blessed to play the piano while her son played the organ every Sunday at church. In addition, to her accolades, the choir room of Emmanuel was dedicated on her behalf and she was later presented with her Honorary Doctorate in Music from the Guadalupe Theological College, after her husband became disabled, she diligently worked as an employee of the Carolyn's Care Center at Emmanuel, volunteering, cooking, and supervising under the late CEO and Pastor Rev. Hamice R. James Jr. She was a fruitful laborer serving in many capacities such as the Minister of Music of the Youth and Senior Choir, Church Program Chairman as well as multiple auxiliaries within the church: Minister and Deacon's Wives, Courtesy Committee, Sunday School Teacher and President of the Missionary Society under the current Pastor Hamice R. James III.
Sis Virlee Bibbs leaves a Legacy as a "Virtuous Woman" of God. She walked with the Lord with Integrity knowing her purpose and destiny. Although her soul is at rest, the family will deeply miss Nana's expression of love as she was known in the community for making the best tea cake cookies and pound cakes. She even had a special dessert for her three grandchildren: "Lemon Meringue pie"-Michon, "Peach Cobbler-Pam" and "Dewberry Cobbler"-Carl, we will certainly miss Nana's delectable desserts! Sis. Virlee Bibbs was preceded in death by her loving husband Deacon Emeritus James Bibbs, her parents.
Rev. and Mrs. Hamice R. James Sr., Brother- Nathaniel James, Brother- Rev. Hamice R. James Jr., Sister- Barbara 0. James, Nephews - William N. James and Clarence Miles Jr. and Niece- Gail Toney.
She leaves to cherish her fond memories and her legacy to her son- Edward (Lucellestine) Bibbs, three grandchildren- Michon (Joseph) Hudson III , Pamela (Calvin) Readdy Sr and Carl (Shontoya) Bibbs; nine great-grandchildren- Megan, Calvin Jr, Carl II , Keidra, Marlon, Faatimah, Aalimah, Malik and Cali; two great-great grandchildren- Skylar and Ezra; special sisters-in-law, Betty James, Ethel James, Ernestine Howard and Mary Lou Dudly- all of San Antonio, Texas, Rhonda James of Lafayette, Louisiana, Mary Ann Bibbs of Washington DC, Sarah Stoval of Norfolk, Virginia and Christine Yelletz of Corpus Christi, Texas, along with a host of other relatives, friends and church family.
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