Virginia Louise Thurman, 84, of Newport, RI, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2022, surrounded by her family.

Virginia was born in Chicago, IL on July 24, 1937. She was the daughter of the late Joseph Ponsetti and Joanne (Strazzabosco) Ponsetti. She was one of three children. 

She graduated from Fenger High School in Chicago, where she met the love of her life and husband of over 66 years, James “Jim” Thurman. His military career brought them to Newport, RI in the late 1950’s.

In between raising her four children, she held various jobs including working 22 years at the Gateway Center.

She enjoyed life thoroughly, especially through the sun and nature. She was a member of the Third Beach Club and Peabody’s Beach for over 55 years and could often be found riding her red TR4, sunbathing, swimming for miles, and making memories with her family and friends. Aside from being at the beach, she was happiest boating on the “Bugdozer #7” in Newport Harbor, gardening, reading, creating artwork, biking, and finding sunbeams on her south-facing deck. In her later years, she and Jim would follow the sun and “snowbird” down in Florida in the winter.

She had a passion for cooking and holistic health. She was an early advocate for vitamins and healthy eating long before it was trendy. She could always be counted on for a great Italian meal and her favorite saying “Mangia.”

She is survived by her husband, Jim Thurman; her children: Mitchell Thurman and his wife, Michele, Dawn Thurman and Tom Mockler, Russell Thurman, and Lorna Cook and her husband, Jay; her grandchildren: Brittany Thurman, Mason Michalski, Camden Cook, Caleigh Cook; her sister, Marlene Malcolm; sister-in-law, Michelle Ponsetti; as well as extended family and friends.

She is preceded in death by her brother, Doug Ponsetti; her brother-in-law, Peter Malcolm; and her sister-in-law, Sharlene Ponsetti.

Her favorite entry and closing were always “Ciao,” which in Italian means both “Hello” and “Goodbye.” Well, Ciao Virginia. Enjoy your journey. You will forever be in our hearts until we meet again.

We would like to thank the staff on the 5th floor of Charlton Memorial Hospital for all the help and support. She will be cremated per her wishes with arrangements by O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home.

A celebration of her life will be held in the sun at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the Newport Public Library.

Source: O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home

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