Josephene Gullo Lester
October 14, 1927 – October 12, 2019
Josephene “Jo” Gullo Lester was reunited in Heaven with her loved ones on October 12, 2019 at the age of 91. She was the first child born to Mary Ruffino Gullo and Luciano “Louis” Gullo, on October 14, 1927. They were cotton farmers in Bryan TX and were a proud hard-working Catholic Italian/Sicilian family. After several years on the farm, she and her family moved to the Heights area of Houston where her younger sister Carrie was born. She attended both Hogg Middle School and Sam Houston High School (in downtown Houston). When she was 19 years old, she met and married the love of her life, Philip John “PJ” Lester; he fought in the Navy, in WW II, in the South Pacific, aboard the USS Cache. They were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church and were blessed with 51 years of marriage. They had 3 children - Mary “Theresa” (husband Richard Akin), Joseph “Joe” Charles (wife Johnlyn), and Louis John (wife Shannon). All 3 children were raised in the Catholic Christian faith and in the love of an Italian home. From those children, her family grew to be 7 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild. Josephene was strong in her Catholic faith, she prayed her Rosary daily, she attended Mass regularly, and she was a proud member of the Italian Catholic group of women called the Maria Del Balzo. After many years at St. Theresa Catholic Church’s Parish, she and Philip moved to St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church where her daughter and son-in-law were members. There, she was active with Catholic Daughters, the Alter Guild, Ministry of the Bereaved, Thursday Club, Rambling Roses, and other groups. She held officer positions in many of the ministries as well. Josephene loved country music, playing dominoes, making traditional Italian meals and desserts, hosting family gatherings and parties with friends, listening to her family play the piano and guitars, and to hear Philip sing to her and recite the poems he wrote. Their home was always filled with joy. Josephene was a natural care giver. She took care of a number of her grandchildren, she cared for Philip when he was injured a few times while on his Houston waterfront job, and she cared for her parents in her home when they fell ill. On November 30, 1998, her life with Philip changed forever. On a rainy day, while on a senior citizen trip outing, Philip who suffered from dementia, wandered off from the group. His disappearance was captured by the local news stations. She and our family prayed and continued to search for 7 long months for him, but no leads. One day some of his belongings were found near a wooded area. A search was conducted on June 6, 1999 by law enforcement, volunteers using search dogs, and family. The mystery was solved, but sadly he was found deceased. Though this brought closure, it also left Josephene with many unanswered questions about how he came to rest there. Part of Josephene went with Philip on that fateful day. Later she lost her sight to glaucoma and much of her hearing as well, but she continued to pray daily and attend Mass faithfully. Later she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her memory and quality of life severely declined. She passed away 2 days shy of her 92nd birthday. Though we, her family, could not celebrate her birthday with her, we have faith that she celebrated her birthday in heaven with her beloved Philip and her mother and father. All questions she had are now answered and we look forward to reuniting with all of them again one day. Josephene is survived by her 3 children, their spouses, and all her grandchildren, and her sister Carrie Gullo Virgadamo. Please join us to celebrate her life. Visitation and Rosary will be on Friday, October 18, 2019, from 5:00pm – 8:00pm (Rosary to be recited at 7:00pm) at Pat H. Foley Funeral Home, 1200 W. 34th Street, Houston TX 77018. Funeral Mass on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at 10:00 am at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 3600 Brinkman Street, Houston TX 77018, reception immediately following service. Graveside service, 2:00pm, Forest Park Lawndale, 6900 Lawndale Street, Houston TX 77023. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to either St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church or to the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Visitation Friday, October 18, 2019
- Rosary Service Friday, October 18, 2019
- Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, October 19, 2019
- Rite of Committal Saturday, October 19, 2019
Josephene Gullo Lester
Connie (Heemer) Thompson
October 30, 2019
My deepest condolences to you and your family, Jay. I am behind on my newspaper reading, so I have just seen this notice or I would have come to the service. She went to church with our Aunt JoAnn Thompson who was on the trip when your Dad disappeared. I'm sure she is safe in the arms of Jesus and your Dad now. Thinking of you and your family, praying for God's peace for all. Love you so much!
Connie Heemer Thompson
October 17, 2019
So sorry to hear about your mother. I will always remember her as one of the sweetest and kind person I have ever known.
She and Philip are my daughter's Godparents
I am sure that she and Philip are in Heaven dancing and Philip singing to her and they will be looking down on their family and friends. Love to all of you.
Margaret & Ed Fitzgerald
October 15, 2019
Our deepest sympathy goes to all the family in the passing of Josephene Lester. She was a kind and loving lady to everyone.
May God bless with you with peace, strength and courage in the days ahead knowing that she is joined with Philip in heaven.
May fond memories of Josephene put a smile in your heart.
Margaret and Ed Fitzgerald