Jane Martha (Mahony) Gulla, age 89, passed away peacefully at Charlwell House in Norwood, Massachusetts on Thursday, December 20, 2018, surrounded by her loving family. Born in Norwood, Massachusetts on June 1, 1929, she was the daughter of the late Thomas U. and Ruth F. (Massey) Mahony. She was raised in Norwood and graduated from Norwood High School with the Class of 1947. After graduation, she continued her studies at Bridgewater State College, where Jane earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1951.
Jane began her career as a teacher at the Balch School, a profession perfectly suited to her and one that would become a multigenerational vocational commitment in her extended family. She soon met, fell in love with and married, on October 1, 1955, her perfect partner, Tony Gulla, with whom, for over the next six plus decades, that love grew ever deeper and more profound.
Jane and Tony first lived together on Dean Street in a home built by her father, just feet from where she had grown up, next door to her sister, Betty and her husband Fred, with whom they would share so much of life over the years to come, just a mile or so down the same street where Tony had lived as a child and where Fred had grown up. There, within 3 and ½ years, they became a family of five with the births of John, Mary Jane and Peter. Jane and Tony boldly moved a whole town away, to Walpole where they would spend the rest of their lives.
Always strong-willed, confident and independent, Jane supported Tony as he went back to graduate school and then followed her into teaching. In a life that never knew an idle moment, Jane could cook and sew and garden and knit and clean and organize and set a pace for the family that the others could only hope to match. After Peter went to school, Jane returned to teaching, now in the Walpole public schools, where she gave proof of the truth in the quotation that a “teacher effects eternity” through generations of fifth graders who benefitted from her commitment to their welfare, from her unwavering belief in the benefits of hard work, honesty and a set of unshakeable values that were the guide stars of her life.
Her family was the primary focus of her singular love and boundless energy, but Jane also had a deep commitment to her Catholic faith which she shared with Tony. They immersed themselves in the community of St. Mary’s Parish in East Walpole, where they and their family sat in the same pew at the same Mass every Sunday, where Jane taught CCD classes, where Tony contributed through a variety of roles and where they made lasting friendships that included many a Parish Hall Party.
It was Jane who instilled in the family a love of travel. Car trips to Florida, the Outer Banks, and Lake Cumberland were followed by endless day trips throughout New England as Jane and Tony sought and eventually bought a vacation home on Cape Monday Cove on Long Lake in Harrison, Maine, the location of what would become “Camp Gulla” a gathering spot for decades of memorable summer days on the dock with their children and, later, grandchildren, just a few feet of shoreline away from Betty and Fred and their family who had a nearby home. Later in life, Jane and Tony, often with Betty and Fred, would travel the country together. Jane and Tony made trips to their ancestral homelands of Ireland and Italy, always a source of loving rivalry of pride of heritage.
Jane’s indefatigability continued to manifest itself in a second career of community volunteerism, through St. Mary’s, at the Walpole town library, serving on local committees, helping the less fortunate by making meals for those at the Pine Street Inn, and dozens of other ways in which Jane, neither a busybody nor a gadfly, nonetheless couldn’t help but connect herself to those around her, often making clear that the best way of organizing anything was Jane’s way of organization.
Jane’s later life was marked by a prolonged struggle with Alzheimer’s. For years at their home, Tony devoted himself to Jane’s care and, when he could no longer manage this on his own, he visited her daily at Charlwell House, feeding her, holding her hand and coaxing an “I love you, Tony” from her that reflected the spark of love in both their eyes that never dimmed even in these difficult years before Tony’s death just about a year ago. Jane’s family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude to the compassionate staff at Charwell House for their years of care of Jane.
For over 62 years Jane was the beloved, cherished wife of the late Anthony H. Gulla, Jr., now together again and forever.
Loving mother of John C. Gulla and his wife Andrea Godbout of Brooklyn, New York, Mary Jane Bush of Walpole, and Peter A. Gulla and his wife Kelly of Norfolk.
Cherished grandmother of Benjamin C. Gulla, Zachary P. Gulla, Molly Labb and her husband Marc, Cara L. Bush, Elizabeth C. Gulla, Andrew T. Gulla, and the late Lauren E. Gulla.
Sister of the late Robert H. Mahony, Elizabeth A. Tomm of East Walpole, and the late Agnes M. Dauphinais.
A funeral mass followed by Interment at Highland Cemetery in Norwood will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The American SIDS Institute, 528 Raven Way, Naples, Florida 34110.