Valerie H. (Penkethman) Barbato, of Newport, died peacefully at home with her family by her side on October 6, 2021.

She was the wife of Frank “Rocky” Barbato.

Born on October 24, 1935 in Waltham, MA, she was the daughter of the late Alphonsus and Cecilia (Bachmann) Penkethman.

Valerie graduated from Rogers High School. She first worked at the Vernon Court Junior College, and then began a career in retail clothing. She had a 30+ year career with Talbots. She rose to the position of multistore General Manager, and they won the prestigious “Red Door” award for Store of the Year in the 1990s. Mrs. Barbato was also a member of Hazards Beach.

Besides her husband of 58 years, she is survived by her daughters, Valerie Withers (Dan) of Portsmouth and Vanessa Diomandes (Tommy) of Portsmouth, and her grandchildren, Lauren, Evan, Stephen, and Matthew. She will also be missed by her 5 great grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her parents, Alphonsus and Cecilia Penkethman and her brother, Robert Penkethman.

Calling hours are omitted.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at 11:00am, in St. Mary’s Church, Spring Street, Newport, RI. Burial will follow in St. Columba Cemetery, Browns Lane, Middletown.

Memorial donations may be made in Valerie’s name to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society,

Memorial Funeral Home

This obituary was originally published by Memorial Funeral Home on It has been republished here with permission and at no cost.