By O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home
Terrence Steven Toppa, 82, of Portsmouth, loving husband, father of four children and three step-children, passed away on Monday, May 10, 2021. Terry was born on March 10, 1939 in Newport, RI to Steven and Katherine (Shea) Toppa.
A lifelong Newporter, Terry was a loving husband and father, an accomplished athlete, and a successful entrepreneur. He raised three children, E’loise Tamer, Rebecca Toppa, and Michael Toppa (Maria) with his former wife Susan Killebrew. He married Patricia (McCarthy) Toppa on May 25, 1980, and together they raised their daughter Nicole Nicodemus (Keith). Terry also helped raise three step-children, Stephanie Pires, Melissa Henry (Rob), and Lewis Abramson (Anita).
In high school he was captain of the basketball, baseball, and football teams at De La Salle academy. He played on the basketball teams for the University of Rhode Island and then Providence College, where he graduated in 1963. He was ambidextrous and was well known for making certain basketball shots with different hands. Later in life he became an avid tennis player and made many friends on the courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He also won their meatball contest two years in a row with his famous meatballs.
In the 1960s Terry taught math at Thompson Junior High for three years and was an assistant football and basketball coach at Roger’s High School. He opened and operated several successful businesses in the Newport area. He opened Toppa’s Food Service (originally named The Toppa Company) in 1966 with his brother Paul. The Toppa’s delivery trucks are a common sight today in Newport. In 1990 he opened Toppa’s Maytag Laundry, and in 1985 he obtained his broker’s license and started Toppa Realty. He continued to work as a real estate broker for Re/Max of Newport for the rest of his career.
Terry was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Paul Toppa. He is survived by his wife Pat, his children and step-children, his sister Pat Olechnowicz, eleven grandchildren, a great grandchild, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Visiting hours will be held Sunday, May 16 from 3:00 – 6:00 pm at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport. A graveside committal service will be held Monday, May 17 at Newport Memorial Park, 123 Howland Ave, Middletown at 10:00 am.
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