Obituary: Linda A. Newman, 72

by | Feb 10, 2021

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Linda A. (Rignanese) Newman, beloved wife of John B. Newman for 50 years, passed away Feb. 7 at the age of 72 surrounded by her husband, children, and grandchildren. With the help of her faith, medical team, family and friends, Linda fought a brave four-and-a-half-year battle with appendiceal cancer. She was a resident of North Kingstown and formerly of East Greenwich.

In addition to her husband, Linda was the loving mother of Brendan Newman of Smithfield and Christopher Newman and his wife Maryellen Newman, and grandmother to her cherished grandchildren, Paige and Lucas Newman of North Easton, Mass. Born in Providence, she was the daughter of the late Domenic and Victoria Rignanese of Cranston, and dear sister of Domenic Rignanese and his wife Robin Rignanese of Smithfield; Cynthia Parrillo and her husband David Parrillo of Cranston; and David Rignanese and his wife Lisa Rignanese of Warwick.

Linda graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1970 where she was a member of Delta Zeta sorority. She earned master’s degrees from both Providence College and Fitchburg State University.

Her career that spanned over 46 years included being a teacher, senior administrator, entrepreneur, and artist. In 1970, she started as a high school teacher at Cranston High School West. She was promoted to the position of instructional supervisor and began her work in curriculum development. In 1997, she was appointed director of curriculum for East Greenwich Public Schools and then elevated to assistant superintendent. She completed 35 years in public education as assistant superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools.

Linda was well respected in the field of education. Her avid learning and love of working with teachers and curriculum continued for 11 years following her public school retirement as a consultant. Her passion for curriculum put her ahead of her time and her coveted leadership in this area was sought after by school districts across Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. Linda was also an adjunct graduate instructor at Providence College and Fitchburg State University. She was a member of the Rhode Island Superintendents Association, the Association of Supervision and Curriculum, and the Rhode Island Art Educators Association where she served as president. As assistant superintendent and educational consultant, she often presented the curriculum work that she facilitated with educators at professional organizations and conferences. During her earlier years as a teacher and instructional supervisor, she served on various statewide arts advocacy groups where she was a voice for arts education for all students. Students, teachers, and colleagues alike described her as passionate, inspiring, visionary, and kind. She leaves a legacy of significant and impactful contributions in both education and the fine arts.

Linda was also a member of the Providence Art Club, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Wickford Art Association, and the Italian American Historical Society. She was a woman of strong faith and a communicant of St. Bernard Catholic Church in North Kingstown and formerly a long-time parishioner of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in East Greenwich. She was a volunteer at the Providence Ronald McDonald House and throughout her life, her quiet, personal, and numerous charitable goals always contributed to helping the needy.

To Linda, her husband, children, and grandchildren were always first and foremost. In addition to her family, her passions included cooking, gardening, traveling, painting, visiting world-wide museums and attending cultural events. For 50 years she kept the ancestral tradition of preparing Sunday dinners where her family would gather for numerous courses artistically presented and always leave with goodie bags. All aspects of her life were aesthetically driven, and it showed in everything she did from writing, packaging, and presenting curriculum documents to gardening, decorating, designing homes, cooking, and painting.

The family would like to acknowledge the dedicated and professional medical team that took care of Linda throughout her illness that included her surgeon, oncologist, gastroenterologist, internist, and the nursing staff at Lifespan and Hospice.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 11 a.m. at St Bernard Church, 275 Tower Hill Road, North Kingstown. Burial will be private. Visitation will be held in St. Bernard Church prior to the mass from 10 to 11 a.m. State capacity guidelines and all safety protocols will be strictly enforced.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to St Bernard Catholic Church, 275 Tower Hill Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852; The Jimmy Fund Clinic, 10 Brookline Place, West Brookline, RI 02445; or Hope Health Hospice & Palliative Care, 1085 North Main St., Providence RI 02904.

You can leave an online condolence at the Hill Funeral Home website HERE.

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Bruce R. Mastracchio
February 13, 2021 7:03 am

Very sorry to hear of this. I worked with Linda at Cranston West for 18 years and she was an excellent teacher and person.
God Bless her family and may HE see them through this difficult time.

Matt Plain
Matt Plain
February 17, 2021 6:14 am

I believe the Newman family lived on Hamilton Drive way back. It’s inspiring to read about her career and family, and even more so about her faith. Rest in peace, Mrs. Newman.


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