This obituary originally appeared on O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home.

Helen Lappin, 96 of Newport, RI passed away August 25, 2020 at Village House in Newport.  She was the wife of the late Col. William Lappin, she was a daughter of the late Henry A. Rayner and Ellen (Downey) Rayner.  Helen was a sister of the late Pauline Betz and Henry C. Rayner.

Survived by her nephews and nieces, Peter Betz (Denise), Cathleen Rayner, Claire Rayner, Carol Rayner, Tom Rayner (Ellen), David Kennedy (Cathy), Bruce Lorange, Roy Lorange and the late John Rayner (Marianne) and many great-nieces and great-nephews.

Helen was the last of the Coggeshall Avenue Gang, a proud graduate of St. Catherine’s Academy Class of 1942.  Helen worked where her husband was stationed, most notably the Pentagon in Washington, DC and the Motion Pictures Services in Guam.

With her love of animals, she raised much money for the Potter League for Animals.  In her time, she was on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Newport and chairwoman of the Easter Seals Drive for Newport County.  Helen had the gift of lifting people’s sprits and giving them hope.  She was happiest surrounded by friends and family, laughter and animals. She could organize a party in 15 minutes!  Helen’s family is extremely grateful for the extraordinary loving care given to her by the Village House Staff.

A private service will be held with family and burial will follow in St. Columba Cemetery, in Middletown.  A celebration of life memorial mass will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Potter League for Animals. PO Box 412, Newport, RI 02840 or by visiting

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