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

JoAnn Bills, 89, of Newport, RI, passed away on Monday, November 2, 2020 peacefully in her home surrounded by her 5 children – Marc, Denise, Michelle, Celeste, and Aimee.  

She survived her oldest daughter Collette and her husband Robert Bills, and she leaves 7 grandchildren – Matthew, Alex, Adam, Coral, Collette, Suzanne, and Luke and one great-grandchild, Scarlett.  

Her unconditional love touched the lives of so many.  JoAnn mentored young girls in an after-school program, volunteered at the Salvation Army food kitchen, and served as a hospice companion.  Everything she touched flourished from home cooked meals to lavish gardens and a warm welcoming home that was open to all.  Her love is trickling down through the generations and for this we are so blessed.  JoAnn’s kind and gracious spirit will remain among us forever.  

The family plans a private service, with hopes of having a Celebration of Life gathering in the Spring. 

If inspired, donations may be made to HopeHealth Hospice, 1085 North Main Street, Providence, 02984 or online at

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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.

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