The Rev. Dr. Donald E. Koponen was welcomed into the arms of his personal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Thursday, June 9, 2016.

He was greeted at the gates of Heaven by his wife Joy and his son Ross along with his parents Oscar and Hannah and his brothers and sisters, George, Norman, Betty, Catherine and Dorothy.

He left behind his brother Roy Koponen of Fenton, MI, and his two daughters and their families: Susan, Corey, Shauna, Kyle, Elyse and Kelise Monteiro; Chelsea and Austin Brockman: Arthur Jenkins; Karen and Rick David; Lindsay, Alexander and Annaliese Peczynski. He also left behind his much loved cousins, nieces and nephews.

“Father Don” was a graduate of Ford Trade School in Dearborn MI. He earned his B.A. from Wayne State University, his M. Div. from Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, and his D. Min. in Pastoral Counseling from Andover-Newton Theological School.

He was ordained a Pastor in the Suomi Synod in 1957 and retired from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1995. He was ordained into the priesthood of the Charismatic Episcopal Church in 1996.

One of things Father Don was best known for was his voice. He studied voice at Suomi College and The Art Centre Music School in Michigan. He was a tenor soloist with the Portland, Oregon Symphonic Choir, and the Swanhurst Chorus in Newport, RI.

He was also involved with the RI Civic Chorale, the Salisbury Singers, the Newport Players Guild and performed with the Newport Music Festival.

He made two recordings of sacred songs and directed the Good News Kids.

Father Don truly walked the walk and practiced what he preached. He was the best father and grandfather that anyone could ask for and he touched many lives.

Calling hours will be held at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

A burial service will be held on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at Newport Memorial Park, 123 Howland Avenue, Middletown, RI at 9:30 a.m. followed by a memorial service at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 525 Broadway, Newport, RI at 11:00 a.m.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.