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.

Online Condolences

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