James E. O’Connell, 83, of Portsmouth, RI, died unexpectedly on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 with his wife by his side. He was the husband of Judith O’Connell. Father of Tracey Marino of Stratford, CT and grandfather of his beloved grandson, J.J. Marino.

Jim was born in New York City on December 31, 1933. He was the son of the late James O’Connell and the late Gladys V. (Sergerson) Rogers. He and his mother moved to Newport in his early years. He attended St. Joseph’s School and graduated from De La Salle, class of 1951. Upon graduation he joined the U.S Air Force and served during the Korean War as a decorated airman receiving the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster. After returning home as a disabled veteran he returned to school and graduated from U.R.I.

Jim had many professions, such as an English teacher, prison guard, ski instructor, restaurant and hotel manager and an Innkeeper with his wife in VT, NH, Cape Cod and Puerto Rico. After returning to Newport, he worked as a parking attendant for 12 years on Marlborough Street. As an avid fisherman from early childhood Jim’s greatest thrill of his life was when he caught a 55 lb. striped bass from the shore at Fort Adams.

Jim had many fond and funny memories growing up in Newport with his beloved cousins, Mary Frances Callahan and the late Pat McGowan.

Besides his wife and daughter he also leaves his step-daughter Carrie Unger, grandson Damon Chase both of NH, granddaughters Taylor and Danielle Unger of Newport and many nieces and nephews. Jim was the brother of the late Gladys Rogers.

Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 from the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St., Newport from 2-4pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 at St. Lucy’s Church. 909 West Main Rd., Middletown at 9 am. Burial at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

In lieu of flowers donation’s in Jim’s memory to the James L. Maher Center, 120 Hillside Ave., Newport, RI 02840.

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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 - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

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 ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.