Obituary: Kathleen Mungiven O’Connell, 104, formerly of Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Kathleen Mungiven O’Connell, 104, formerly of Portsmouth, RI, passed away on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Middletown. Kathleen was the wife of William E. O’Connell, husband of 63 years, who passed away in September of 2006.

Kathleen was born on August 22, 1913 in Providence, RI, the only child of the late Robert E. Mungiven and the late Florence (Kenny) Mungiven, and the granddaughter of the late Captain Anthony Mungiven, of the RI Militia, and the late Patrick Kenney, owner of the Atlantic Mill.

Kathleen was a graduate of St. Xavier Academy, class of 1931. She was a class officer in school. After graduating from St. Xavier, she enrolled in Our Lady of the Elms College, in Chicopee, MA. She was the first Rhode Island resident to graduate from there, in 1935, where she received a Liberal Arts degree. After graduation from college, she left Rhode Island and moved to New York City, where she joined the Motion Picture Herald organization at Rockefeller Center.

Active in the theater while in college, she continued her interest in the theater. Later she became a lecturer for the Queens Council of Catholic Women, of which her lecture subject was the Dead Sea Scrolls, which became a life long interest, and at one point in her life, she visited the site where they were found in Israel.

She was very active in her church and the schools in which her children attended, and was president of the Mother’s Club in Queens, NY. She became a Civil Service social caseworker in Long Island, NY. At the time of the Hungarian Revolution, she formed the Welcome Children organization, that helped with the refugees.

She traveled extensively throughout the US, and later, spent several summers traveling abroad. She often said there were no countries that she didn’t like and enjoy visiting. She once caught a pick pocket thief in Israel and got lost on a trip through the Pyrenees Mountains.

Upon retiring and moving to Rhode Island, she joined the guides at Hammersmith Farms in Newport, until its closing. On her 90th birthday, she was invited to light the fires along the waterfront in Providence, during Water Fire.

An only child, she considered friends her treasures and loved them and her family as she loved life itself.

Kathleen’s family would like to express their tremendous gratitude to Jack and Mary Daly for their many years of love and friendship that they gave to Kathleen, to Andrew Kelly for all the Sarsaparilla that she loved, and to Sr. Rita Keirnan and Sylvia Kakligan.

She is survived by her children, her beloved daughter Carol Ann O’Connell, William O’Connell, Elizabeth Donegan and Daniel O’Connell and her six grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

Her funeral will take place on Saturday, June 9, 2018, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am, in the St. Barnabas Catholic Church, 1697 East Main Road, Portsmouth. Her burial will follow at St. Francis Cemetery in Pawtucket. All who loved her are welcome to attend.

Memorial donations in her memory may be made to Elms College, 291 Springfield Street, Chicopee, MA 01013.

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