Dr. Alfred Joseph Varisco

Dr. Al Varisco, 58, passed away on February 13, 2021 in Houston, Texas. He was born on April 3, 1962 in Lafayette, Louisiana to Al and Lona Varisco. His parents meant the world to him and he talked to them daily. Some of his friends know them as second parents.

Al is survived by his wife, Christine, to whom he has been lovingly married for 31 years; daughters, Sarah, Emily, and Madison; parents, Al, and Lona; sisters, Alonda, and Twyla; grand-pup Winston, and numerous other family members and hundreds of friends. He was so proud of his three girls and they were the loves of his life. If anyone knew him, his girls were the conversation starter.

After attending Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, his love of education began when he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UCLA, a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Pepperdine, and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston in Educational Psychology. He was dedicated to helping young people in the Houston area, and had been the devoted and beloved Principal at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School for 17 years, as well as a professor at both the University of Houston, Clearlake, and University of St. Thomas-Houston.

His faith, his family, his students – both past and present – and the love of his friends, were the things he cherished most in life. He enjoyed football, his Crown and Coke with his buddies, his Jeep, Mater Dei football, St. Clare, and Tower 3 in Huntington Beach. His family and friends loved his passion for everything that mattered to him.

Visitation for former and current students and their families will be held on Sunday, February 21 from 4 – 5pm. A public visitation will begin at 5pm, followed by a Vigil and Rosary at 5:30pm at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church. A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, February 22, 2021 at 10:30am at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church, 3131 El Dorado Blvd., Houston, TX 77059. For those that are unable to attend, please go to www.stclarehouston.org after 10am CST on Monday to view the livestream of the memorial.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a memorial donation in Al’s memory and contribute to a St. Clare Scholarship Fund for students in need, may do so in Al’s name: St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School, 3131 El Dorado Blvd., Houston, TX 77059.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no public reception.


  1. Christine and girls
    We were so saddened to hear of Al’s passing. He was always kind to, and supportive of our children during their swimming and water polo days at Clear Lake, especially Carly. Praying for peace and comfort in this time of sorrow.
    Scott, Camille, Cameron, Connor and Carly Glass

    Camille Glass
  2. My heart aches over the passing of Dr Al. Yet, there are people like me who can testify that this man had a wonderful impact on my life. He showed tremendous love for his family, his students, their parents, the faculty and everyone else he encountered. His intelligence and drive was displayed with complete humility. Have fun in heaven ‘when you see your redeemer face to face.’

    Fr. Dominic
  3. Christine and girls, to say that our heart aches for you all is not enough. The times that we all shared in Indian Princess will never be forgotten. The Dakota tribe was a beautiful group of the most amazing fathers and daughters. Al was such a big part of this wonderful group and we are so proud to have known him. It is so beautiful that our girls and dads brought all of our families together because without the Dakota tribe we may never have known each other. Another of God’s amazing plans. Bill, Kate and I send you our deepest condolences and love. I hope that you find strength in the power of the Lord. God bless you all

    Susan,Bill and Kate Taylor
    • Christine, Sarah, Emily and Madison, what Susan said above is so our own same sentiment. Al was indeed such a beautiful part of our Dakota tribe and all of the years that followed. Our admiration, respect and love for the heart and mind he shared with each of you and with each of us as his dear friends has forever changed us. We know he has made you the special family you are today. Al was always the one with the smile, the laugh, the helping hand, the right words, the right heart and the right engagement. We thank him so much for the extra love he shared with Hilary these last few years that Madison was at Vanderbilt in Nashville. He put others first, he made everything personal and made each of us feel like we were the only people in the room. We love each of you, we have so many lessons to still learn about life and Al is our lifelong angel. We are hugging you hard these days and are here to be by your sides. God bless you all, Pres, Cynthia, Jayme and Hilary

      Presley Broussard
      • Al, you would be so proud of your family and friends, they are unbelievably sad and shocked but being strong for each other! I want to thank you and your family for amazing friendship and love over the many years! We are devastated living this lesson of losing someone too soon and making sure moving forward that we love and support each other as tomorrow is not promised! Varisco family always know we are a call away for any needs and we love you so much!

        Cynthia Broussard
  4. Our hearts break for the entire Varisco family. We are so very grateful that our children had this wonderful role model during their early year and beyond. Dr. Al was a true friend who gave tirelessly to those in need.

    “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”~John 11:25-26

    We were truly blessed to have a man like Dr. Al in our lives. He touched so many and we are all so much richer for it.

    May he rest in God’s eternal peace.

    Guy & Patricia Hallberg & family
  5. Dear Christine, Sarah, Emily, and Madison,
    My heart is truly broken, and I cannot imagine what you each are experiencing right now. I pray that each of you can truly feel the loving arms of Jesus wrapped tightly around your family, as you grieve. Dr. Al was amazing, and he truly loved God, his family, his friends, and each and every student that walked through the doors of St. Clare. They each knew they were loved, and he knew each of them by name. He made everyone feel like they were his top priority, and his love for Jesus was such encouragement for everyone who had the honor of knowing him. Both of my children were so prepared spiritually and academically from their experiences at St. Clare and I enjoyed every single day that I had the honor of teaching there. I have loved all of you since Sarah was 8 years old, and I can tell you first hand you come first and that will never change. I love you guys, please don’t hesitate to ask if you should need anything at all. Love, Kristina, Joe, Jacob, and Matthew Bauer

    Kristina Bauer
  6. Dear Christine and Girls,
    Our prayers are with you. Please know that Al is so special, smart and wonderful to all of us in the Catholic School system. We know that this is a terrible loss for you. Our prayer is for the Lord’s peace and comfort for you. So, so sorry for your loss.
    Much love and God bless,
    Clint and Cathy Stephen

    Cathy Stephen
  7. Christine, the first time I met Al at your wedding, I knew he was someone special. He spent time to talk to everyone, even the people he had never met. Mary Moriarty on the way home knew that your family was in great hands.We love you all and will always be here for you. God Bless you, Sarah, Emily, Madison and all the Variscos.
    Al is with God. He is in the best place of ALL. We all again will be together!

    Tom Debbie Jordan and Josh
  8. christine and the varisco family. what an infectious smile AL had…in all the times i was around AL, his energetic demeanor, made me a much happier person, in my life going forward…in my eyes, he was as tall as uncle jack…a mountain of a man. i’m greiving with you, cuz! AL and JACK are in heaven discussing who will win the MASTERS next year…love you, christine.

    mark mesmer
  9. In Loving Memory of Dr. Al, a Great Leader and Mentor to my daughter and all kids at St. Clare and the St. Clare community as a whole. We will miss your morning fist bumps, smile, silly hats and Pie Dr. Al. Our condolences to Mrs. Varisco and beautiful daughters. Forever in our hearts and memories. You are our St. Clare Angel watching over us. Amen.

    The Almendarez Family- Carlos, Aimee, Luca, Valentina
  10. To Christine and the girls,
    Sorrow, sadness, and a broken heart can’t begin to describe the pain and loss you all are going through right now. We are so very sorry for your loss as well as the loss of such a tremendous mentor, leader, and educator he was for all of the past, present and future students (whom will never get to know how truly great a person he was) at St. Claire.

    Lisa and I are forever thankful for the direction, guidance, and encouragement he gave so freely and tirelessly to our daughter (Katie). His interactions with her as well as all of the students lives he touched while with us, will forever shape and define whom they become and what they achieve throughout their entire lives!

    His love for you Christine and the girls was Inspiring, Endearing, and Refreshing. To hear him speak about all of you was such a joy. His passion for people, students, and having fun was second to none. His whit, his sense of humor, his ability to poke fun at others as well as himself, and his laughter will be irreplaceable!
    Me and my family are so very blessed to have been able to have Al in our lives. He has left a never ending impact on us all and will forever be missed! His genuine friendship to me will leave a huge void in my heart that can never be filled as it will with so many others that were blessed to have his friendship!

    John 14: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
    Father God, you truly now have in Heaven a “Masterpiece”…Thank you for sharing him with ALL of us in the short time you graciously provided. For he, among us, will be forever missed! God Bless the entire Varisco family!

    Rick, Lisa and Katie Coker
  11. We are truly saddened by this news. There are so many great memories of watching the Varisco family cheer Madison on at swim meets throughout the years. We especially remember her Dad with big smiles and lots of pride for her swimming accomplishments.

    Sending our heartfelt condolences and prayers for comfort and peace.
    The family of Alex Ford

    Ellen Ford-Barton
  12. Christine… my heart is broken for you and your beautiful daughters! You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time! I pray that God will encircle you with love and warmth😘❤️🤗 You have been so kind to me and my family and I can never re-pay you for your kindness and vigilant nursing care provided to them! I love you, sweet friend, and I am only a phone call away for anything that you or the girls may need🥰💕💙🙏

    Cheryl Day
  13. We are extremely sadden by the passing of Dr. Al. His influence on the Bittner family and long nights at the Gala are as indelible as his teachings and care given to Jake. We will miss you Al, always. Christine and the girls will always be in our prayers.

    Dan, Gloria and Jake Bittner
  14. Dear Chris and family,

    Please accept my very sincere condolences in the sudden passing of your devoted and kind husband and father.

    Al surely followed St. Clare’s words, “Love God, serve God; everything is in that.”
    He and you helped me greatly in my time of need with Oscar when he was coming home on hospice. I am forever grateful for his and your help.

    May Al rest in God’s arms now. God bless you, the girls, and the rest of the Varisco family.

    Maggie Olszewski
  15. My deepest sympathies and prayers for you all. Dr. Al helped me get into a career that I have loved ever since. It was at a difficult time in my life when he helped me. He was a wonderful man to work for. It was amazing to see how the kids adored him and were so excited when they would see him around school, even my own children. He will be greatly missed by so many!

    Andrea, Kylie and Wyatt Carranco
  16. Christine, I have seen how proud you talk about your husband. I am so very sorry about your loss. Your family will be part of our prayers. Please extend our condolences to the rest of your family especially to your girls. Maria and Jomar

    Maria Patawaran
  17. Dear Emily (and family,)

    The Ambuehl staff expresses our deepest sympathies. We know your dad was an amazing man. He and your mom blessed us with the honor of working with their amazing daughter. We are sending prayers during this difficult time. We are here for you when you return.

    Much Love,

    Ambuehl Staff and Family

    Jennifer Sullivan
  18. Christine and girls,
    My heart is aching for y’all. Al was just a great friend to so many! All of you absolutely were the loves of his life! His stories were always about y’all….from when he first met Christine and how much he instantly loved her to each of the girls and the many activities you all were involved. I loved working with him at UH and continued to stay in touch on small research projects. He was a true family man and and a man of God!
    May your memories and the arms of Christ hold you during this time of grief!
    Angie Durand

    Angie Durand
  19. Dr Al’s smile radiated a very warm heart . My daughter Faith Hernandez attended Pre-K and Kindergarten there 7 years ago. I observed many times how Dr Al embraced the children at Saint Claire of Assisi school. When he walked the hallway he showed his passion and love for all the children . As a parent if you had a concern he was undivided in his attention and with all his knowledge a parent gained wisdom from his advice . It is heartbreaking he left this earth so soon. I feel for his wife, girls and family. I feel for the children and staff at the school and how empty it will feel with his absence. I thank his wife and daughters for sharing him with our children at Saint Claire and pray the memories will carry you forward in knowing he was a great man and school Principal. God Bless

    Janet O’Keeffe

    Janet OKeeffe
  20. Christine,
    I pray that God comforts you and the girls’ heart. I’m here for you always. Please let me know if you need anything, even if it’s a shoulder to cry on. I love you! Continue to stand on God’s unchanging Word.

    Dana Robertson
  21. Christine, Sarah, Emily, and Madison,
    Our hearts ache for you, and we are saddened by your loss. Saturday night the dads from the Dakota tribe all got together around a campfire to honor our good friend. We shared many great memories of past campouts, father daughter dances, and other special events. Even though it’s been 20+ years, it felt like it was last year. The Dakota dads will always be here for you. May God bless you.
    Ken, Maureen, Ashley, and Christine

    Ken Gallia
  22. Al left Mater Dei while I was still counseling there. I retired in 2011, and I had not seen Al is many years. Still, I was very sad to hear of his passing, all too soon. His smile was constant, and his enthusiasm for life and education was abundantly clear. His family will remain in my prayers. He indeed found his calling in teaching and working with today’s youth. How fortunate they all were to have learned so much from him on so many levels. God bless the Varisco Family.
    Dulcie McCracken

    Dulcie McCracken
  23. Christine, Sarah, Emily, Madison –
    So sorry to hear about Al. He meant a lot to many people. I have many wonderful memories of spending time with him at swim meets, water polo games, and neighborhood events. I always enjoyed sitting next to him and talking about kids, work, families, and life. He was good man and will be missed. You are in my thoughts,

    Mike Massimino
  24. My thoughts and prayers are with the Varisco family at this time, RIP Al, save us a seat in heaven🙏🙏🙏


  25. My teaching internship was at St. Clare 15 years ago. A month ago, Dr. Al wrote the most meaningful reference letter I’ve ever received. My sincere condolences!

    Nathalie Barry
  26. I’m so truly sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Al. His loss at SCA school will be immense. 💔 No one will ever fill those shoes for us, try as they may. He was the first for fist bumps, high fives, to lend a shoulder, an ear, give a hug or hard time. He would listen and love, fight for our kids as if they were his own. He gave so thoughtlessly of himself to us all. He was a father figure to our kids for most of their day, if not the only one. He was the Shepherd and we were his flock, always learning, striving to do better, reaching for excellence, fairness and faith. He wore funny hats, ties and cowboy boots, and always joked as he opened the year… that he was bald due to his 3 daughters. He loved them so. He worked hard to keep our kids striving for better, for excellence, for self worth, fairness, faith and love. A soul like his can not be replaced. Of all he’s helped us to overcome, this exit is sad and tragic. Thank you for being our “rock” Dr Al. You did it with love, style, conviction, grace and humility. May you Rest In Peace Eternally. 💔 Always……

    Amanda & Luis sabatini
  27. Christine, Sarah, Emily, and Madison,

    Your husband/father impacted so many lives with his Godly example of how we should live our lives in Christ. I knew him from my statistics class last fall. In the short 4 months that I got to know him, I saw his dedication to God, his family and his students. Every class began with a prayer. Anyone who met him knew that Dr. Varisco lived his life with integrity seeking to be his best for Jesus.

    I Corinthians 15:54-58:
    “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
    “Death is swallowed up in victory.” …
    But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…”

    Dr. Varisco was steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. He assuredly has the victory in Jesus and is in heaven.

    I will be praying for you all. May Jesus watch over and protect you as you mourn his loss.

    May the love of Christ comfort you.

    Valerie McAvey
  28. Dear Christine, Sarah, Emily, and Madison,

    I treasure the five years that I shared with Al at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School.
    He entrusted me with the job of starting the middle school and I had the privilege of teaching Emily and Madison for a year. I will never forget the retirement party he and the staff held for me in 2008. The kindness and generosity he showed remains with me still.

    I have never stopped praying for Al, his family and all of St. Clare School and Church since we moved from Houston. Al will always be first and foremost in the blessed memories I have of my seven years at St. Clare.

    May God bless you abundantly with His peace, comfort and strength in the months to come. God’s Love and Care for you is limitless and eternal. May you always feel it.

    Hilary Bercier

    Hilary Bercier
  29. Dear Christine, Sarah, Emily and Madison,

    Words cannot truly express the deep sorrow we all feel at the sudden loss of Dr. Al. I feel fortunate that music helps me to express my sorrow in a personal and productive way.Thank you for allowing me the honor of singing for Dr. Al. I cannot wait to have all the little St. Clare Singers pour their little hearts out in song as soon as we are able to gather again. It will help them too.

    Ryan and I are so grateful our children had the chance to know Dr. Al when they were at St. Clare. I am so grateful I had the chance to introduce lovely Emily and Madison to the dramatic arts while they were at St. Clare. It was a job that brought me so much joy and we were always grateful that your athletic husband and dad supported the arts so well at St. Clare. He wanted everyone to shine!

    Dr. Al was so very proud of each of you. It was always great chat with him and get an update on all of his girls. He was a teacher of teachers, he led by example and did an amazing job. I learned so much working at St. Clare and will be forever grateful for all Dr. Al taught me and will continue to teach us all through his legacy which will continue far into the future.

    May the Choirs of Angels come to greet you. May the lead your to paradise. May the Lord enfold you in his mercy. May you find eternal life.

    With Deepest Sympathy,

    Kelley, Ryan, Rebecca, Kyle and Ava Van Slooten

    Kelley Van Slooten
  30. Al was #30 on the MDHS football team, and everyone would agree that he was the star of every game he played.
    With love and condolences,
    Jeanne Miller, MDHS class of ’80

    Jeanne L Miller
  31. Chris, Maddie, Emily snd Sarah ~ we are heartbroken to hear of your loss. Dr. Al had such a significant impact on our lives at St. Clare, as have you girls in Jillian’s swim efforts. He was a great man with a wonderful family. We send you much love and God’s great strength during this difficult time.

    Colleen Bronder and Jillian Nelson
  32. Dr. Al “rests”, but still speaks from his work and his beautiful family. Jesus will call and Al will answer, Job 14:14. The Varisco family has just seen Yvonne Varisco take her “rest”; adding to the sorrow. We know the miracle of the resurrection will mend our broken hearts. Christ’s heavenly Kingdom government will reverse all the tragedies . Isaiah 9:6,7 We all pray for God’s will to be done in heaven ,as well, as on earth. The original intention for people to enjoy perfect life in paradise will be realized. Ps 37:10,11.29. There will be no more pain, sickness, sorrow, or death. Rev 21:3,4 God will tenting over the people, mankind. What a relief to attend a resurrection rather than a funeral! We will all shout for joy when our loved ones return Isaiah 26:19. The Varisco’s are very special people. Al and Yvonne will live in our hearts and minds forever. Almighty God will soon reunite them with their families. May we be there in paradise to welcome them. JW.org “Enjoy Life Forever”
    Warm Christian Love, Sandy Wirfs John 5:28,29

    Sandy Wirfs

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