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.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.