Grace Elaine Kinnunen, 84, of Portsmouth, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, October 14, 2021. She was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on March 31, 1937 and was the daughter of the late Hazel (Astin) May Clarke and William H. Clark, Jr.
Throughout her life, Grace was an avid learner and always happy to lead a group. Grace graduated from the Academy of Sacred Hearts in Fall River and attended Rhode Island College earning a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master Degree in Elementary Administration. She taught first grade for 30 years mostly in Middletown, Rhode Island as well as Charleston, South Carolina, St. Paul and Minneapolis Minnesota and was a life member of the National Education Association. In 1972 she proudly served as President of the Middletown Teachers Association. An advocate of community service, she served on the Potter League for Animals Board of Directors for 11 years. She was an original member of the Melville Park Committee serving through the years until 2017. In the 1970’s, she joined the Glen Park Working Committee and retired as Chairman in 2018. Grace was a lifelong horsewoman and President of the Aquidneck Island Horseman’s Association for 11 years and a life member. She rode with the L & G Riding Club of Connecticut in the Arcadia Management Area with her beloved “Indy” and relished driving her mini horse “Levi” and his cart around the Escoheag Campground dodging obstacles. A lifelong gardener, she spent many hours in her yard the results of which reflected her love of the earth and nature. Upon retiring, Grace resumed playing her violin and enjoyed playing with the Salve Regina Orchestra and the Community String Project.
The most important thing to know about Grace was her sense of fun and love of family. She enjoyed going to the beach, fairs, having cook-outs, visiting friends and finding treasures at yard sales. The house was always full of friends and she enjoyed cooking for everyone. She made every holiday and birthday special, never forgetting to send a card with kind words in it. She worked tirelessly to create the memories that we hold dear in our hearts to this day.
Grace is survived by her two daughters, Sabina Silvia and her husband Herbert “Skip” Silvia, Jr. and Naomi Ingersoll and her partner Jason Amaral. She is also survived by 4 grandchildren: Ethan Ingersoll, Nathaniel Ingersoll, Aaron Ingersoll and Andrew Silvia.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 9:45am – 10:45am in St. Barnabas Church, 1697 East Main Road, Portsmouth, Rhode Island. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00am immediately following visiting hours. Burial will be private.