Nikeeya Nichole James, 35, friend to all

Posted: March 28, 2013

YOU JUST HAD TO LOOK at Nikeeya Nichole James, bask in her radiant smile, to know that she was somebody you would like to be around and who would always be there for you.

That's the way it was for those fortunate enough to have known Nikeeya James. She really cared about people and held all her friends close to her heart, while always being the life of the party.

Unfortunately, her friends and family lost her radiance and love too soon. She died March 19 of a pulmonary embolism at age 35. She lived in East Falls.

"She was an amazing friend," said Sandra Choute, a classmate of Nikeeya's at Penn State and now a teacher in Maryland. "She had a big heart; she cared for people. You knew she would always be there - through the good, the bad and the ugly.

"She was always smiling, no matter what was going on. She was the biggest cheerleader. And she was always honest with you. She was aware of the pros and cons, but always supportive. She would text me just to make sure I was OK."

"She was bubbly, a joy to be around," said her mother, Margaret "Sheila" James. "She knew a lot about computers, and she was always willing to help people with computer problems. Friends would call her with a problem and say, 'Can you fix it?' She always could."

Nikeeya was born in Philadelphia to Margaret and Leroy James Sr. She graduated from Frankford High School in 1995 and went on to Penn Statewhere she became active in the Gamma Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the Epsilon Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

She majored in labor and industrial relations and was involved in numerous campus activities, including the NAACP, the Black Caucus and the University Park Allocation Committee, which allocates funds to student-run groups. She was editor of the Drum, a campus newspaper for African-American students.

Her voice was heard occasionally on the campus radio station, WPSU, talking about music.

"She was a very popular girl at Penn State," said Mister Mann Frisby, a writer and onetime Daily News reporter who knew her at the school. "She was a very infectious person, always smiling and laughing. She was cool with both boys and girls."

Nikeeya went to work for Comcast Media Group in technical support about two years ago. She also formed two companies, Teknique LLC and Panache Media, employing her technical skills.

She loved to travel and did so extensively. She not only liked to tour the U.S., but also traveled to London, Amsterdam, Paris, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Canada, Mexico and Hawaii.

"Nik was a people person and made friends wherever she went," her family said. "Whenever she was out and about, she always ran into someone she knew."

At the time of her death, she was working on a book of poetry, which she planned to have published this summer.

Nikeeya was baptized at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, and became active in a number of ministries at the church.

Besides her parents, she is survived by a sister, Marneisha Vereen; a brother, Leroy James Jr., and her maternal grandmother, Estelle Vereen.

Services: 11 a.m. Thursday at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, 230 W. Coulter St. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

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