via O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home

Joan M. Lynch of Newport passed away peacefully on October 27, 2021, at the age of 91.  

She was born Joan Marie Murphy in Newport on April 26, 1930, the second of four children of Cornelius F. Murphy and Loretta (Nuss) Murphy.  She was the wife of the late Raymond J. Lynch, to whom she was married for 52 years and with whom she had 7 children.  Joan graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in History and English.  She worked a couple of years as a technical librarian at the U.S. Naval Base in Newport until her marriage in May 1953.  She later worked part-time in the library at Salve Regina College and then full time as a librarian in the Middletown school system.  She was a devout Catholic and for many years a daily communicant, and she always gave much credit for her religious formation to the Sisters of The Cenacle, which had a community near Battery Park in Newport.  Since 1964 she was a parishioner of St. Augustin’s Church.

Joan was known and will be remembered for her deep religious faith and her kind, loving and gentle personality.  A person of strong intellect and intellectual curiosity, she was a life-long learner with a voracious appetite for reading.  She was also a talented painter, as was her mother, and her many landscape and still-life paintings grace the homes of her large family.  A lover of nature, she enjoyed camping and hiking, including countless visits over a period of 60 years to the Mohawk Trail State Forest in Massachusetts, which she considered somewhat of a second home.  She was an enthusiastic traveler who made 40 trips to Europe in her adult life, most often to France, Ireland, and Portugal.  Many of her trips were inspired by a sense of pilgrimage that took her to the great medieval cathedrals, to shrines such as Fatima, Lourdes, Medjugorje, and Paray-le-Monial, and also to remote places such as Skellig Michael, Iona and Lindisfarne.  In her later years she enjoyed car rides around Newport’s Ocean Drive and watching sunsets from the hill at Fort Adams. 

Joan was predeceased by her husband Ray, her sister Nancy Walling, and grandsons Dennis, Richard, and Kevin Fitzgerald.  

She is survived by her seven children:  Timothy R. Lynch, Anne M. DeCotis (Henry), Michael C. Lynch (Carolyn); Joan E. Fitzgerald (Stephen); Brigid M. Rubin (Gary); Raymond J. Lynch, Jr. (Patricia); and Mary L. Dobb (George).  Her 10 surviving grandchildren are Sarah Lynch, Katherine Lynch, Alison (DeCotis) Munsey; Meghan (DeCotis) MacDonald; Elizabeth Decotis; Mary (Lynch) VanderKolk, Anna Lynch, Connor Rubin, Ryan Rubin, and Colman Dobb.  Joan is also survived by her brother Neal Murphy, her sister Mary Burke, six nieces and three nephews.

Visiting hours will be held on Monday, November 1, from 4:00-7:00 pm at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport.  A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 2, at 10:00 am at St. Augustin’s Church, corner of Carroll & Harrison Ave, Newport. Burial will follow at St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Lane, Middletown.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joan’s memory may be made to The Sisters of the Cenacle www.cenaclesisters.org, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary www.fmmusa.org, or the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, www.sj-cluny.org.

More from What’s Up Newp

Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).