Edward Connolly of Newport dies

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Tuesday 06 July 2021

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Edward Anthony Connolly died on Saturday July 3, 2021 at Miriam Hospital in Providence. A native of Newport, born August 8, 1940 in Newport Hospital, Ed was the son of the late Deputy Police Chief John P. and Alice Dwyer Connolly.

Ed grew up on Bateman Avenue in Newport’s Fifth Quarter and was a graduate of St. Augustine Elementary School, class of 1954, and De La Salle Academy, class of 1958. After graduating from De La Salle , Ed entered Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. , where he studied philosophy and theology. He was ordained a Catholic priest and served at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Providence, where he lived and worked with Bishop Russell J. McVinney. While at the cathedral, Ed ministered to the community of South Providence, including Catholic schools in Providence and the hospital in Rhode Island. He often accompanied the Providence police on nightly calls to respond to tragedies, care for victims and help with conflict resolution. A longtime supporter of social justice, Ed has volunteered countless hours with fellow clergy and religious who have worked to change social policy and provide services to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders in poverty.

After his time in the priesthood, Ed married his 47-year-old wife, Gertrude T. Connolly, and received a master’s degree in special education from Rhode Island College and in school counseling from Providence College. He started a new career at Warren High School, where he taught students with behavioral challenges. Several times a week he returned to East Bay at night to teach adults with developmental disabilities. Ed loved his students, often throwing school parties and organizing field trips. Later in his career, Ed became a guidance counselor in the new Bristol-Warren School District and worked with Bill Eyman to develop Play Fair, a first anti-bullying program that was implemented in the Bristol-Warren elementary schools. The program taught peer-to-peer communication, cooperation, assertiveness and helping, and included non-competitive games to help children feel connected to each other, despite their varied backgrounds and experiences.

A long-time member of the Newport Yacht Club and avid sailor, Ed has spent every possible day on the water in his boat, the Vatican III. He was a licensed U.S. Merchant Navy officer and loved to share his love of the water with others. After his retirement he was a tour guide for Viking Tours, where he introduced tourists to Newport and its harbor. In addition to sailing, Ed often spent weekends at his Cranston Avenue property in Newport. He was a member of the Newport Historical Society; Redwood Library and Athenaeum; the Irish History Museum in Newport; the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Education Association; and the Arc. He also appreciated his participation in the Salve Regina Circle of Scholars program.

Ed leaves his wife Gertrude and his two daughters, Kristen and his wife Heather Connolly of West Warwick; Katelyn and her husband Gianni Petteruti of Newport, and her three grandchildren, Gian, Owen and Maryrose Petteruti. He also leaves behind his beloved sister, Mary C. Connolly of Newport; his brother-in-law, James E. Clancy of Tiverton; and his close friend and nephew John St. Jacques.

Visiting hours will be Friday July 9 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Costigan-O’Neill Funeral Home, 220 Cottage Street, Pawtucket. A Christian burial mass will be held at St. Joseph’s Church, Broadway, Newport on Saturday July 10 at 10 am, followed by a funeral service at St. Columba Cemetery, Middletown.

Information and directions are available at the Costigan-O’Neill Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Sail to Prevail in memory of Ed.

Soft sailing, Ed. You will be sadly missed by your family and friends, and may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

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