Mary Juliette Lester

September 7, 1933 ~ February 6, 2021 (age 87)


Mary Juliette Lester was born in Richmond, Virginia on September 7, 1933 to the late Thomas and Margaret Ellen Noone, Sr.  Julie grew up in Upper Arlington, Ohio, lived most of her adult life in Washington DC, and returned to Upper Arlington in her later years.  Julie is preceded in death by her younger brother, Thomas F. Noone Jr.  Julie was married to Urban Lester of Knoxville, Tennessee, a former Air Force pilot, Washington attorney, law firm partner, and professor at Catholic University.

Juliette Lester’s undergraduate and graduate study was completed at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame and The Ohio State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in history. She later held a graduate fellowship in management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed further graduate work in higher education at the University of Chicago. Later she became a Guest Scholar in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. 

Julie was the Executive Director of the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, as well as the first Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education.  She also served as the Director of the Education Department’s Transition Task Force. Later, Julie was an international education consultant for Canada and Hungary and was a member of the United States Senior Advisory Committee for the World Bank Employment Counseling project involving Turkey, Germany, and the United States. 

Julie was the co-author of the monograph, Learning to Work: the NCDA Gallup Survey.  Among many educational awards, Julie was selected as the 2ndwoman ever to be named a Congressional Fellow by the American Political Science Association  She was among the first women invited to join the previously male-only Cosmos Club and later served on their Board of Management. Julie was a four-time recipient of the National Career Development Association President’s Award and helped implement legislation for Pell Grants for need-based student aid. Julie was awarded the American Spirit Award sponsored by the US Air Force Recruiting Service.  In 1991, St. Mary’s College recognized Julie by naming the Senior Political Science Award in her honor. 

Julie’s life was blessed with godchildren, nieces and nephews, her sister-in-law, and many life-long friends. Julie spent some of her retirement at “Lester West” in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, Urban.  She loved playing the piano and was able to do so up until her last days.  Julie cited a highlight of her life being able to break the “glass ceiling” as a Catholic-educated woman and assisting other women in their careers.

She is survived by sister-in-law, Inge Noone; nieces, Margaret Lester, Jennifer Coy, and Kimberly Sears.  Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrew Church, 1899 McCoy Road.  Burial at a later date at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Silver Spring, MD.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Central Ohio.  

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Mass of Christian Burial
February 16, 2021

11:00 AM
St. Andrew Catholic Church (Columbus)

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