Eugene “Willie” Stephen Olechnowicz, 63, of Newport, passed away on Saturday, October 1, 2022, just shy of his 64th birthday.

Willie was born on October 12, 1958 in Newport, RI to Patricia (Toppa) Olechnowicz and William “Gene O” Olechnowicz.

After a severe stroke, Willie passed peacefully in his sleep at the HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center in Providence, while listening to college football.

Willie spent much of his time at the James L. Maher Center for the disabled in Middletown, where he had a full, rewarding life as an active member of their supportive community. He was also a renowned Patriot’s fan, and a lifelong resident of the 5th ward. He was a beloved member of the community – all the local residents and shop owners knew Willie. He enjoyed his daily walks on Thames St, where he freely handed out the beaded necklaces and bracelets that he made himself.

Willie was preceded in death by his father, and his uncles Terry Toppa and Paul “Butch” Toppa.

He is survived by his mother Pat, his brother Marc, and numerous cousins in the Toppa family.

Visiting hours will be held Wednesday, October 5 from 4:00-7:00pm at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport. A Mass of Christian burial will be held Thursday, October 6 at St. Augustin’s Church, corner of Carroll & Harrison Avenue, Newport at 10:00 am. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Willie’s memory may be made to The James L. Maher Center, 906 Aquidneck Ave, Middletown, RI 02842 https://mahercenter.org/

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Eugene “Willie”, please visit our floral store.

This obituary originally appeared on O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home.

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