Jean Maxime José “Joe” Jullienne
Jean Maxime José “Joe” Jullienne, an extraordinary husband, father, grandpère, brother, and uncle with limitless creativity and the power to melt hearts and test minds, passed away on Saturday, March 18, 2023, surrounded by family.
He was born on April 15, 1937, in Curepipe, Mauritius, to Jean Alfred Roger Jullienne and Marie Julie Yolande Sériès Jullienne. At age 21, he made the momentous decision to leave his home country, a small island in the Indian Ocean, to live in the United States, stopping briefly in Nairobi and Paris before sailing to New York via the Île de France from the Port of Southampton, England. He experienced his first snowfall on the journey across the Atlantic and accepted a ride to North Carolina from another passenger, hitchhiking the remainder of the journey to Baton Rouge, where he met his future bride, Lydia Lewis Varino, and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University. He learned to speak English while at LSU (French was his native tongue), married Lydia on December 22, 1962, and furthered his education at College Station, receiving his PhD in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University.
After college, he accepted work at DuPont in Wilmington, De., where his three children were born, and relocated in 1970 to the company’s plant in Chattanooga. He led a textiles research engineering team that was responsible for many key developments. The practical applications of their success ran a wide gamut, including a greatly improved nylon production technique, as well as smooth vibration free rides in our vehicles thanks to advances in radial tire composition. He remained at DuPont until his retirement in 1999 and continued to advise on new plant builds in Asia and South America for several years afterward. His intellectual curiosity pushed him to explore complex subjects later in life, including the origins of our universe and existential philosophy.
Although his work was important, church, family, and friendships were core to his being. He was a longtime member of St. Jude Catholic Church and held several leadership roles there, including service on the Parish Council and Knights of Columbus. He also made time for community and was instrumental in establishing the Middle Valley soccer field complex that continues to foster youth development today. Incredibly, he managed to take his family across the globe to Mauritius on four occasions after commercial air travel first became accessible, gifting them with indelible memories. As his body began to fade (his mind never did), he made one final trip to Mauritius in 2017 to visit with his brothers and extended family. His home, however, was firmly in the United States – he never looked back on his decision to root his family in this country, and was proud of his U.S. citizenship.
After retiring, he applied his mind, talent, and passion to releasing the creative spirit that inspired and fulfilled him. And his work was remarkable, emblematic of a commitment to excellence that permeated all aspects of his life. He taught himself to cook and quickly became a gourmet chef. He took woodworking to the next level, building masterful cabinetry. The arts also succumbed to his prowess, as he generated magnificent paintings, sculptures, and carvings that fill his home (and those of his children) with love and beauty, including dodo birds that help keep the history of Mauritius alive.
He was rare. Those who knew him know that, including the nurses that competed to care for him during his too frequent hospital visits. We will deeply miss his rapier intellect, compassionate and selfless spirit, genuine kindness, contagious laugh, and calm nonjudgmental wisdom, all mixed with a flare of French accent. He will forever live in our hearts until we see him again.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Jean Maurice Roger “Roro” Jullienne, and his sister, Marie Rita Armelle Jullienne.
He is survived by Lydia, his wife of 60 years, his brothers, Jean François Mario Jullienne, Jacques Roger Jean-Marie Jullienne, and Jean José Antonio Jullienne, his daughter, Anne Nicole Logan (Andy), his sons, Jean Marc Jullienne (Cassie) and Jean Paul Jullienne (Tracey), and his eight grandchildren, Andrew Jullienne Logan, Olivia Nicole Logan, Lydia Grace Logan, Anna Camille Jullienne, Sophie Alexandra Jullienne, Max Lucas Jullienne, Sophia Kate Jullienne, and Josie Claire Jullienne.
A funeral mass will be held Saturday, March 25, at 11 a.m. at St. Jude Catholic Church, 930 Ashland Terrace, Chattanooga. Interment will follow at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery.
The family will receive friends on Friday, March 24, from 6-8 p.m. at the funeral home.
Arrangements are entrusted to Lane Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace, www.Lanefh.com, 423 877-3524.