April 5, 1930, to May 31 2022
A tiny star burst to life in the far eastern sky on April 5, 1930. It shone its light on Sydney, Nova Scotia. The little star seemed to glow more brilliantly as a few moments later a baby girl was born. Lena Mary was the first child born to the young Whitney Pier couple, James and Marcella (Baldwin) Neville. They were filled with pride as they brought their baby girl home to their house on Matilda Street. A short walk up from the waterfront and the International Coal Pier where James cast a large shadow. He worked his way up the ranks in a career marked by a keen eye that kept watch over the health and safety of his fellow workers.
As James pursued his work on the waterfront, the tiny star kept busy looking after baby Lena at home. The star didn’t want Lena to be a lonely child, so it proceeded to pack the little house with baby sisters and brothers for her to play with. They came seemingly one after the other. Jimmie was first followed by Jean, Dannie, Charlie and Freddie. Then came Julie, Abbie, Ellis, Dolores and finally Theresa.
Lena’s star never left its watch as it groomed Lena into a striking young beauty, who by the age of 17 caught the eye of a neighbourhood boy. Phonse Jessome courted Lena relentlessly, even following her all the way to Louisbourg where her parents sent her to spend some time and help out her aunt. Phonse and her star had other ideas, and, in a year, she was married and began her adult life as Lena Jessome.
Lena’s star glowed brilliantly two years later as it watched Lena become a mom. Her first was a daughter, Donna Clare would grow to give Lena two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Donna made Lena proud as she worked into a senior position at Statistics Canada in Ottawa before the gravitational pull of Lena’s star drew her home to retire near mom.
Lena’s second daughter came along in 1960. Jeannie Dolores gave Lena two more grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Lena’s star kept this daughter closer to the nest as Jeannie followed her dream to become a teacher and then a school principal before retiring to the Coast with her husband, Joe Stone.
The little star wasn’t quite done and in 1962 completed Lena’s family with her only boy who she named after his father. Phonse also gave Lena two grandchildren before following his own star as he became an Author and journalist and went off to see a bit of the world. He’s now retired with his wife, Barbara (Jabalee) in Halifax.
As her children grew, Lena and her little star set out on an adventure of their own. She took a job at Reitman’s clothing store and went on to become store manager and later Atlantic regional manager for the Reitman’s chain.
Lena’s eyes took on the sparkle of her little star as she spent time with her favourite person doing their favourite thing. Lena and Phonse’s sister, Mary were much more like sisters than in-laws. They could be found together every Monday and Wednesday evening at the bingo tables at the Imperial Hall in The Pier. Later they shared a monthly date at the Sydney Casino where each set a $20 limit, stopping mid-way through losing it to share a meal. A true girl’s night out.
Lena’s star did darken at times over the years for in every life some darkness must fall. Lena was broken hearted as she was predeceased by both her parents, her brothers, Freddie, Jimmie and Dannie and even her best friend, Mary. Her deepest darkness most heartfelt pain came in 1998 with the unexpected death of her husband, Phonse.
Her star shone once again as she found her new home in Seaview Manor in Glace Bay where she received much more than basic care. Where she found love and true friends who always went well beyond what was expected. Lena loved the Manor so much she removed her name from a waiting list at a Sydney rest home, her original first choice.
Lena Mary Jessome passed away on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Glace Bay.
Memorial Mass will be celebrated at Holy Redeemer parish at 10 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday, June 8, 2022. It will also be live streamed on the Facebook page of Holy Redeemer.
Click Here: http://Face Book at Holy Redeemer
She will be buried in Resurrection Cemetery, Sydney Forks following the ceremony. It will be then when her star bursts into its brightest as Lena is re-united with her husband, Phonse on what would have been their 74th Wedding Anniversary.
Donations may be made to a charity of your choice or in Lena’s memory to The Seaview Manor Foundation.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of Pier Community Funeral Home.
Phonse and Family. We are sad to learn of Lena’s passing. A life well lived and the family anchor. Let the memories help ease the grief. Take care. Greg Boone, Marilyn McNeil, Rowan Boone.
From: Greg Boone
My sincere condolences to Lena’s family especially her children, Donna, Phonse and Jeannie. I remember her as kind and loving with a huge heart. May she rest in peace.
From: Patty Lou Jessome
Donna please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your beloved Mom. May she Rest in Peace.
From: Margaret Margetti
Beautiful lady inside and out … she will be missed by so many … love you Lena I send heart felt condolence to the family
From: Doreen Headley macdonald
Condolences to the family
From: Carl MacLeod aka Carrlie
My condolences to all of Lena’s family. She was such a beautiful kind caring n loving person. Always had a smile n a hug for you . I had the privilege to get to know Lean n care for her when I worked at Seaview Manor. Fly high beautiful lady
From: Susan McAulay
Our prayers go out to for Lena and the Jessome family. May you enjoy your time inside the gates of heaven and may it be similar to the James St. Housing group. We will always remember the good times and great neighbours.
The Muises from Calgary
From: Michael & Lynn Muise
Sorry for your loss. Thinking of you at this time.
From: Mike & Debbie Mahon
Sincere condolences on Lena’s passing. Lena’s, was a beautiful lady inside and out. She was everyone’s number 1 at Seaview.
From: Michele Macdonald
I worked at Seaview Manor and Lena was very special to me. She loved for me to make her burnt toast in the morning. Something I got her stuck on and she loved it. I thought the world of Lena and I am so sad to hear of her passing. She certainly was a shining star. I will always remember Lena. She use to call me the builder, lol. I always showed Lena things that I build and she was amazed. I build a club house for my grandchildren and she told everyone in the manor and had me show them the pictures. I Loved talking to Lena. R.I.P. sweet lady.
Elaine Mitchell aka (The Builder)
Lena you were always a ray of sunshine,loved talking to you,you had great advice for me.I’m glad when I came back to work after a health issue and you were the first one I seen,you always lit up a room when you entered. I’am so greatfull to get to spend time with you and got to see you again. You were a true beauty of a gem,we the staff at Seaview Manor are going to miss you terribly 😥we love you ❤until we meet again. XoXo.
From: Natalie Boutilier
Jeannie, please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your Mother. From what I heard she was a great woman to be admired. My thoughts are with you, Donna, Phonse and extended family. May you all find peace and comfort in the days ahead and may that star shine forever.
From: Theresa Sampson
My deepest condolences to Phonse, Barb, Barbara Michelle, Paul, Phonse’s sisters and families during this very difficult time. My heart goes out to you all.
Such a tremendous loss loosing Aunt Lena, my heart is broken, I will miss her so much. Condolences to all who loved Lena, there are so many. Remember her with a smile.
What a touching obituary. Brought tears to my eyes. Although we never met Lena, Jeff always talked about her, and I know she was loved by her family. Our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.
Liz & Rob Stuppiello
Aunt Lena was a true original. We always enjoyed spending time with her, both at home on James St. and later in her new home at Seaview Manor. We loved Lena’s quick wit, her beautiful smile and her sage advice. All of you are in our thoughts and prayers, and we hope your memories of Lena will help you through this difficult time.
Patricia, Brian and Emily
Aunt Lena was one of a kind! Always a smile a laugh and a full candy dish!!! My thoughts and prayers to all those who loved Her Lena will be dearly missed
Sending our deepest sympathy.💕
Doddy & Bobby Keel
Condolences to the Jessome and Neville families, rest in peace Lena.
Theresa,Jean and Charlie and to the Neville/Jessore families. My condolences to all of you. She will be missed.
Condolences to you Jeannie and your whole family on the loss of your mama. I know she would’ve been proud of how wonderful a principal you were!! You changed so many lives! God bless.
So sad to hear of Lena’s passing, my mom’s oldest and dearest friend. I have such wonderful memories of Lena from when they worked together at Reitmans. Mom and I modelled for Reitmans in the mall fashion show, she was always so kind, a beautiful lady inside and out. Until this day I would ask mom about her, as she and my sister would visit her at Seaview and mom and her would chat on the phone. Rest easy now Lena.
To Lena’s family. We are so sad to hear of Lena’s passing. She was one of mom’s dearest long time friends and they continued to have their late night time chats. Mom and I would atleast make our yearly summer time visits to her in Glace Bay. Even when Covid hit, we had signs made and made our visit. The nursing home staff brought her to a room at the back of the building where we got out of the car, helled up our signs telling her we loved her. Although we were outside a fenced area, the staff opened the window so she could hear us. She was such a sweet lady and a trooper. Please know we had plans to attend her service this morning , but unfortunately, Covid finally got me and I was unable to take mom. You are all in our prayers, and I know mom will truly miss her. God Bless! Martha and Barb.
Donna and family. So sorry to read of your Mom’s passing. May the fond memories you hold deep within your heart help you through this most difficult time
Condolences to Lena”s family!! I played Little League Baseball when
Phonse was coaching.. God bless her soul, may she rest in peace with
perpetual life shining upon her.
Sending my sincere condolences to lena’s Family a beautiful lady. May all your beautiful memories get you through this difficult time. REST IN PEACE sweet lena
Sadden to read of Lena’s passing. Condolences to the family may she Rest In Peace. May all your beautiful memories of Lena lighten the hurt.
Abbie, Sandra, Jessome and Neville families,
Sorry to hear of Lena’s passing.
Sending love and prayers.
As a child growing up on Matilda Street, I remember Lena going out of her way to be kind to me. Sincere sympathy to a nice family.
To Lena’s family,
Lena and I worked together at Reitmans, in Sydney, for many years, before I relocated to Newfoundland.
She was certainly a wonderful worker and person.
Family was everything to her for sure.
I saw her while I was visiting in Cape Breton, about 10 years ago.
We had a great conversation.
Rest In Peace my friend.
I am so deeply sorry. Lena was one of my favourite residents at the manor. I would always visit her when I worked there. Making sure she was eating, sleeping well and most definitely making her hot chocolate just the way she liked it. I am so beyond proud to have had the chance of taking care of her. I thought of her as mt grandmother. The talks we had about my life and hers is what I cherished the most of. I loved her like my own family. May she Rest In Peace.
Jeannie, Phonse, and the entire family, our sincerest condolences on the passing of Lena. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Betty and Bill Smith
Hammonds Plains, NS
Donna,Jeannie and Phonse, so sorry to read about your Mom’s passing. Our condolences to you and all the family,may she Rest In Peace
Carol and Tony Black
So sorry to hear of Lena’s passing she was a sweetheart lots of fun memories from our Reitmans days my condolences to the family. Diane Landry.
Our sincere condolences to Lena’s family. I met Lena when Helen was at the manor. We became good friends and I continued to visit her even after Helen passed. She was so funny and kind. I will miss you very much. May you have no more pain and be happy forever. Love, Nicole and Glenn
Jeannie – My condolences to you and all your family on the loss of your mom. She sounds like a great person. Please Take Care.
Phonse, my condolences to you and your extended family.
Jeanie and Jessome Family,
I was saddened to hear of your mom’s passing. Reading her beautiful obituary made me reflect on how much you are like your mom, Jeanie. She sounded like an exceptional lady who left a positive impact on everyone she touched….. very much like you! Sending lots of thoughts, prayers and hugs your way during this difficult time! xo
Donna, Jeannie and Dukie and families, I am thinking of all of you from afar and sending sincere condolences. We loved Lena. From the fond childhood memories of Lena teaching me about the birds and the bees, to the new memories made with my daughters who called her ‘a goddess’, Lena will always hold a special place in our hearts.