Francine James, formerly of Braintree and Oak Bluffs, died peacefully in New York city on May 12. She was 87.

Francine was born in Boston on Jan. 30, 1932, to Grace Roberts.

She was deeply committed to education. A longtime volunteer in Boston public schools, she also worked in the mayor’s office of education, and was assistant to the Martha’s Vineyard Superintendent of Schools. Before retiring in 1999, she was special assistant in the supportive day program for seniors on Martha’s Vineyard.

With her former husband Paul James who predeceased her, she raised five children. She also was predeceased by her eldest son, Howard James. She is survived by her four daughters, Paula James Nailor of New York, N.Y., Karen James-Sykes of Boston, Stephanie James Stewart of Rockville, Md., and Francine James of Boston; and four grandchildren. Her ever-present smile and positive spirit will be missed.

A memorial service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, June 15 at 2 p.m.

Donations can be made in her memory to the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, P.O. Box 1729, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 (online at