James R. Costello
August 29, 1934 – March 5, 2023
VISITATION: Wednesday, March 8th, 5pm, followed by a 7pm VIGIL at the West Center Chapel. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Thursday, March 9th, 11am at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 4810 Woolworth Ave.
Interment: Calvary Cemetery
To view live broadcasts of the Vigil and Mass, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.
Memorials are suggested to Siena/Francis House or Holy Cross Catholic Church.
James R. Costello, age 88, of Omaha, Nebraska, passed away on Sunday, March 5, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. He is preceded in death by his wife of 42 years, Marlene (Leiting) Costello; his parents; and 5 siblings: Ed, Bill, Rosemary, Renee, and Steve.
Jim is survived by his beloved children: Ann Valla (Tony), Mary Allen (Scott), Kevin Costello (Karla), and Karen Godfroy (Steve); and 11 grandchildren: Jamie, Megan, and Nick Valla (fiancée Cami Schott), Billy, Katie and Joey Allen, Savannah Bishop, Eilee and Cece Costello, Samantha, and Tommy Godfroy.
On August 29, 1934, Jim was the fifth of six children born to Ed and Helen Costello. At the age of 6, his father passed away suddenly. His mother was forced to split up the children among family until she was able to secure a job and housing. The Costello clan reunited and lived across the street from St. Cecilia’s Cathedral for many years in a home they fondly referred to as “802.”
The Costello bunch was inseparable. They played ball in the fields around Cathedral, and their mother let them flood the backyard in the winter for ice skating and hockey. Jim played football in high school and graduated from Creighton Prep in 1953. He honorably served his country in the Marines and then returned to Omaha. Jim began working at the downtown U.S. Post Office in 1960.
At age 33, Jim met his bride, Marlene Leiting, a nurse anesthetist originally from Carroll, IA. She fell in love with his soft Irish heart and pearly white smile. His favorite thing about her: “she was really smart and always a lot of fun!” They were married in 1967 and raised their four children in the Holy Cross parish. Jim helped coach his girls in softball, traveled with Kevin’s hockey team, and supported every activity they were involved in. Favorite vacation spots included Okoboji, Eureka Springs, and Las Vegas.
As the kids married, Jim was thrilled to welcome grandchildren. The older grandkids still reminisce about playing hooky from school to spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for them.
Jim retired in 2000 and became Marlene’s main caregiver as her health began to decline. He took it upon himself to get trained on all her daily medical needs and faithfully tended to her, showing his family a beautiful example of true love.
After Marlene passed in 2010, Jim kept busy with yard work, walking his dog, the grandchildren’s school or sporting events, and daily visits with his sister, Renee. He eventually sold the family home and lived independently for several years at Elmwood Tower on 52nd & Leavenworth. He loved his apartment on the 19th floor. What a view! Jim relied heavily on his Catholic faith, attending mass and adoration regularly. Although his health was declining, he continued to enjoy puzzles, word games, outings and occasional visits to the casino.
Jim’s children would like to recognize that he achieved 41 years of sobriety in January. He has said staying sober was the hardest and best thing he has ever done. His family is forever grateful for this gift.
Sweet Jimmy was a good man. He was gentle and charming, with an infectious smile and belly laugh. We miss him already!
We love you, Dad, and promise to stick together! GO, TEAM COSTELLO!
Thank you, everyone, for the prayers, love, and support you have shown us during this difficult time.
A special thank you goes out to Jim’s caregivers at Miracle Ear, Visiting Angels Omaha, and CHI Home Health & Hospice.
Our most sincere condolences to the whole Costello family. We have many great memories of activities with our Joel and Kevin and Karen and their parents! May he be lovingly welcomed to his heavenly home and happily reunited with Marlene!
Thank you to the Holm family for being such an important part of my upbringing at Holy Cross. I have nothing but fond memories of your kindness growing up. God bless you all.
Karen, Kevin and Team Costello…sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. Wishing you all peace and comfort during this difficult time.