This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.

Werner Franz “Frank” Item, 87, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, passed away on January 8, 2021, at home surrounded by his loving family.

Werner was born, November 16, 1933, in Chur, Switzerland to Anton Item and Marie (Bergunthal) Item.

Frank was married to his loving wife Sheila, for 52 years.

Frank worked at Raytheon, Portsmouth, RI for 38 ½ years in Program Management. He received his bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University. He attended Boston University School of Management. He was an early President of the Newport Ski Club and helped build the interior of the new lodge at Okemo Mtn. in Vermont. He helped generations of people enjoy skiing. He loved teaching his 4 children and any children or adults who wanted to “ski like Frank”. Sailing was a lifelong passion. Frank bought 3 new boats, built 4 sailboats, and renovated 10 other sailboats. Three of those were trawlers. Over the years, Erik, Tina, Mark, Erin, and Sheila learned many lifelong skills working together getting the various boats ready for the water. Fifteen years of happy times and memories when Frank coached all 4 kids’ soccer teams and helped with Boy Scouts.

Frank is survived by his wife Sheila, and their children; Erik Franz Item and his wife Catie, of Osterville, Mass., Kristina Castell and her husband Kelley, of North Palm Beach, FL, Mark Anton Item, of Portsmouth, and Erin Knight and her husband Bill of Portsmouth. He is also survived by his loving grandchildren; Anna, Ava, and Jenna Item, and Jonathan and Ashley Castell, and Billy Franz Knight.

Fair winds and following seas to a kind, gentle, and wonderful man. We love you, Frank.

A private Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday January 13, 2021 in St. Anthony’s Church in Portsmouth.

Due to restrictions in place by the RI Depatment of Health, all services and burial are private.

The Funeral will be Live-Stream broadcasted on Wednesday January 13, at 10:00 am.

For more information or condolences, visit

A celebration of Life will be held at a later date, once restictions are lifted.