Served in the U.S. Army during WWII on the staff of General Omar Bradley
Arthur R. Pontarelli, 101, passed away peacefully on Oct. 30, in East Greenwich surrounded by his family. He was the son of the late Fiorangelo and Enrichetta (Zarlenga) Pontarelli and the loving husband of the late Anne M. (DeMarco) Pontarelli for 64 years. He was predeceased by brothers Vincent, Nicholas, and Raymond Pontarelli, and sisters Irma Redman and Adelaide Marseglia.
Arthur was a graduate of Classical High School, Rhode Island College of Education, and Boston University, and studied at Biarritz University in France, Ohio State University, Colorado State University, and Harvard College.
He was a secondary school teacher in North Providence and Pawtucket and school administrator in Warren. He became Deputy Commissioner of Education in 1963 and was named Commissioner of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education in 1980. He also served as an adjunct professor at URI, PC, and RIC.
During his career, Arthur received many education, civic, and social awards. He was the recipient of two honorary doctorate degrees from Catholic Teachers College and New England Tech. He served as Chairman of the National Association of State Education Commissioners.
Arthur served in the U.S. Army during WWII in the Military Intelligence Service on the staff of General Omar Bradley. He was a member of the “Ritchie Boys,” a special group of soldiers trained at the secret Camp Ritchie in Maryland for military intelligence operations. He was recalled for the Korean conflict and served in Korea as Artillery Intelligence Officer. Among his military awards Arthur received the Bronze Star for action with the Seventh Division. He left the military with the rank of Captain.
Arthur is survived by his children Paul Pontarelli (Mary Ann) of East Greenwich, Lisa Pontarelli (David Paolino) of Warwick, James Pontarelli (Patricia) of Narragansett, David Pontarelli (Sally) of Culpeper, Va., and Mark Pontarelli (Kirsten) of Lake Oswego, Ore. He was the loving grandfather of five grandchildren, Sarah Pontarelli (Evan Katz) of Jamestown; Will Pontarelli (Maddi Gervasio) of Astoria, N.Y.; Camille Pontarelli of Burlington, Vt.; Isaac Pontarelli of Nashua, N.H.; and Damon Pontarelli of Lake Oswego, Ore. Arthur had two great grandchildren, Ben Allen Katz and Riley Jake Katz of Jamestown.
The Pontarelli family wishes to express heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the caring staff of Green House 21 at St. Elizabeth Home, Hope Health Hospice, and The Seasons.
Family and friends are invited to visitation on Friday, Nov. 3, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Carpenter Jenks Funeral Home, 659 East Greenwich Ave., West Warwick. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4, at St. Gregory the Great Church, 360 Cowesett Road, Warwick, at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at St. Francis Cemetery, 163 Smithfield Avenue, Pawtucket. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Dr. Arthur R. Pontarelli ‘43 Scholarship for first generation college students studying education at Rhode Island College.
You can leave an online condolence at the Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home website HERE.
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