US Navy veteran

ANDOVER — Ernest J. Gulla of Andover, formerly of Melrose, passed away on June 2 at the High Pointe House Hospice in Haverhill surrounded by his loving family. Born July 1,1937 in Cambridge, he was just a month shy of his 87th birthday.

Mr. Gulla was the son of the late Patrick J. Gulla and Adeline M. Gulla of Melrose. The second of four children, he relished his family. His parents, older brother Robert, sister Marilyn and brother Richard were never far from his thoughts. He was devoted to his wife Marilyn; his children Paul and Stephanie; and his grandchildren Jayden, Bodhi and Amos to whom he regularly sent fun presents their parents largely frowned upon much to the children’s delight.

He attended grammar school in Everett and after the family moved to Melrose in 1951, he graduated from Melrose High School, Class of 1955. He then attended Worcester Academy for one year, making friendships there that would endure throughout his life. After prep school, he went on to Boston College, graduating in the Class of 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

He was passionate about football and played with enthusiasm and eagerness. He was selected as an All Scholastic in high school and played until his sophomore year in college when he made the difficult decision to give up the sport he loved and focus his energy on his studies in business. His stories of his football playing days lived on, however, for the rest of his life. Following college, he entered Officer Candidate School of the United States Navy in Newport, RI and received his commission as an Ensign. He served four years active duty, achieving the rank of Lieutenant. Among his tours of duty, he served honorably on the USS Henrico, whose service members he stayed in touch with his whole life.

With family and football, his third great love was the business he founded, Concordia House which started as a custom picture frame shop on West Emerson St. in Melrose and grew into a wholesale supplier of elegant prints on canvas for restaurants, hotels and mail order companies. His business operations were temporarily interrupted by a mid-life heart by-pass operation, which led him to holistic treatments and a new-found emphasis on health and wellness.

Part craftsman, part businessman and part philosopher, he was passionate about history and read voraciously. Mr. Gulla was a traditional product of the 1950s, raised on John Wayne westerns and a cold war mentality (he was a top-secret communications control officer aboard ship in the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962). As a true student of history and after much debate with his children, he grew to accept changes in perspective and increasingly had an eye to helping others. He objected to the treatment of Native Americans and sent donations to a Lakota school for years. He supported local Boys and Girls Clubs with bicycles he would find and repair; 46 in all.

Mr. Gulla leaves behind his wife Marilyn (Carr) Gulla; son Paul Gulla and his wife Tracey Levy of Northampton and their children Bodhi and Jayden; daughter Stephanie Soule and her husband Walter of North Andover and their son Amos; sister Marilyn Glover of Melrose; brother Richard Gulla and his wife Joy Camp of Melrose; sister-in-law Sylvia Gulla of Westerly, RI; sister-in-law Cynthia Carr of Andover; brother-in-law Dennis Carr and his wife Patricia of Reading; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his older brother Robert J. Gulla of Westerly, RI.

A Mass Of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, June 22 at St. Mary’s Church, Herbert St., Melrose at 10 a.m. Burial will follow the funeral Mass in Wyoming Cemetery in Melrose. Please go directly to church. Family and friend are respectfully invited to attend. Donations in Mr. Gulla’s memory may be made to the American Indian College Fund. Visit