Catherine Gunning Obituary

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

Catherine “Katie” F. Gunning passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her family on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Katie was born in Newport RI, to Donald MacKay & Florence Jane Fraser.  She attended Rogers High School and the University of Connecticut. Katie was married to the late Ralph E. Gunning for 26 years until his passing in September 1986.   Although Katie had a strong Scottish exterior, she exuberated a warm and giving heart to many who knew her. 

Katie was admired for her relentless efforts on saving any living creature that came her way, from birds, to raccoons, and squirrels who each were given names and detailed descriptive character that she shared with many. These efforts were not only for the animals, Katie also brought people into her life who sometimes had no family to call their own, she made it point for them to feel loved as if they were her own. Katie enjoyed sharing stories with her family of her and her late husband Ralph’s childhood and their heritage, they were both a strong part of the Newport Community in the late 60s and 70s. Katie chose to spend her later years at her home in Newport around her beloved Golden retrievers, the wildlife and her children and grandchildren, enjoying holiday dinners, especially Christmas keeping traditions strong so that they shall remain carried on. 

Katie leaves her three children, Donald F. Gunning (Lisa Gunning), Jane C. Gunning (William Burke), and Ralph E. Gunning (Janine Gunning) and five grandchildren Conner M. Gunning (Morgan Gunning), Daniel F. Gunning, Garrett J. Gunning, Ella Jane Gunning and Maxwell A. Gunning. 

There will be a private burial at Newport Memorial Park, 123 Howland Ave, Middletown on Thursday, February 4th, 2021.  In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in her honor and love for wildlife to the Norman Bird Sanctuary, 583 Third Beach Rd, Middletown, RI 02842, or by visiting