Ronald R. Fatulli, age 88, of Middletown, RI, passed away on Monday, July 5, 2021 at home surrounded by his beloved wife, Mary Ellen (LaPierre) Fatulli and his devoted, loving daughter, Janet L. Fatulli. Ronnie and Mary Ellen were happily married for 56 years.
Ronnie was born and raised in New Bedford, MA to the late Raymond and Jennie (Salvati) Fatulli. He served in the United States Army, stationed in Alaska. When Ronnie returned home, he quickly found opportunities through his dedicated hard work. He bought a small lobster boat and sold sandwiches to the sailors at anchor on Navy ships stationed in Newport. In 1959, he founded the Aquidneck Lobster Company and soon grew from one small lobster market to becoming the largest East Coast wholesale distributor. The Bowen’s Wharf location became their foundation in 1965, then expanded further with the Coast Canning Company.
Ronnie had an understated personality, and spoke loudly with his immeasurable work ethic. He worked seven days a week for his entire career. In 2018, his accomplishments on behalf of the local fishing and lobstering industry were recognized on the Long Wharf State Fishing Pier with the dedication of the Ronnie Fatulli Pavilion, and again just a few months ago with the dedication and unveiling of a statue on Bowen’s Wharf. The statue highlights some of his fishing career record catches, Lobster (39 lbs), Mako Shark (610 lbs), Bluefin Tuna (842 lbs) and Striper (72 lbs). He supported every fisherman, and gave everyone a chance, and at times, a second chance. He was known for his tough love, and if he gave you a shot, he wanted you to succeed.
Ronnie is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Ellen, his daughter Janet L. Fatulli of Newport, and his stepsons Robert Oatway (Gail) of Greenville, Thomas Oatway of Newport, William Oatway (Amy) of Jamestown, and Peter Oatway of Middletown. He also leaves his dear nephew Jay LaPierre (Maureen) of Middletown, and niece Jacqueline LaPierre (Rick) of Newport.
Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, July 11, 2021 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, July 12, 2021, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Newport.
In honor of Ronnie’s ongoing support for others in the fishing industry, the family requests that you consider reaching out to someone in need and giving them a second chance, just as Ronnie did.