Born in England, Karen Oddy James sailed to the U.S. with her British parents and younger brother on the Queen Mary in 1966 to pursue the American dream. Her family settled in Dallas and became U.S. citizens in 1980. The family later moved to San Marino, Calif. where she attended UCLA earning a B.A. in English. Karen also studied abroad at Cambridge in England, and spent time backpacking her way through Europe.

Completing her studies she set off to become a journalist and began her career anchoring the noon news headlines of a farm and ranch report at a small Oklahoma TV station. Throughout the next decade, Karen worked her way up by reporting at ABC, NBC, and CBS TV news affiliates in cities across the country, with her last reporter position in Dallas. During her career, she covered mostly crime and was known for her ability to work closely with law enforcement. Karen received three awards from the Associated Press for her journalism.


After reporting, Karen took a communications position with AARP and applied her skills to publicizing and developing grassroots campaigns to help pass consumer protection and health care legislation on both the federal and state levels. She has also been recognized by the FBI for her public relations campaign to protect consumers against fraud.

In late 1997, Karen's best friend introduced her to Kelly James, their landscape architect. After their first date, the two were inseparable. Kelly introduced her to his love of the mountains and climbing and Karen often joined him on his travels. He proposed atop snowy Mount Rainier and the couple was married in 2000. Together, with Kelly’s four children, they built their life around the outdoors, art and God.

With Kelly’s encouragement Karen started painting as a hobby, and is now considered an accomplished artist, with her modern abstract paintings showing in galleries in Santa Fe and Dallas. To view her art visit Karen is a public relations consultant and speaks on surviving tragedy and loss and is committed to sharing her story and the lessons she has learned in hopes that it will bring peace and comfort to others who are facing difficult times. She resides in Dallas and is a member of Fellowship Bible Church of Dallas. She shares her life with her four stepchildren and greatly enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


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