Mary Lee (Harris) Franklin, 79, of 4 Chapel Terrace, Newport entered into eternal rest Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Mary was born April 20, 1938 in Marengo County, Alabama, she was the daughter of the late Thomas Junius and Daisy Elsmore Harris.

Mary was a resident of Newport for over 50 years, most of that time in the Chapel Terrace neighborhood. Mary had a genuine love for family, both biological and extended. She was a generous woman who helped anyone in need and was loved as the matriarch of the neighborhood for decades.

She was a longtime volunteer at the St. Paul’s Thrift Store and the former St. Paul’s Priory on Narragansett Ave. Mary was a longtime communicant of St. Mary’s Church and was a member of their Legion of Mary.

She had a deep passion for cooking and gardening. She started the Newport Housing Authority Garden Club and received many awards for her flowers.

She is survived by five daughters, Sandra Bufford-Brooks of Ft. Worth, TX, Kay Taylor of Mobile, AL, Ruby Franklin and Beverly Franklin, both of Newport, RI, and MaryAnn Crook of Middletown, RI, her adopted daughter Shirley Rose, her sister Betty Thames of Pensacola, FL, and her brother Nelse (Stella) Taylor of Mobile, AL.

She also leaves her grandchildren, Mandrell Bufford, Domingo & Dinique Brooks & Martinique Grice, Angelique Franklin, Milka, Ana & Jana Tolich, Danielle, Marques, Andre, Elias (Hanna) Franklin, and Hanna Salines; as well as her godson Raymond Stepford.

She also is survived by twenty great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

She was greeted in heaven by her daughter, Debra Lee Franklin, grandsons Sgt. Michael T. Franklin and Bruce M. Franklin, her parents Daisy and Thomas, her sisters Daisy Robinson, Ella Mae Bruno, and Mary Gooden, her brothers Sam Hollis, Mark Hollis, Henry Taylor, and Richard Taylor.

Calling hours will be Wednesday, July 5 from 6:00-8:00pm at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, with a prayer service at 7:30 pm in the funeral home. Burial will be in Lawn Haven Cemetery in Theodore, Alabama.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations may be made to St. Paul’s Thrift Shop, 326 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840.

Ryan Belmore is the 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.