Obituary: Suzanne Owren Carcieri

by | Nov 15, 2018

Suzanne Owren Carcieri, 76, of East Greenwich, former First Lady of Rhode Island, passed away on Thursday, November 15, surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved wife of former Governor Donald L. Carcieri. They were married 53 years.

Born in Providence, daughter of Ivar and Patricia Owren, she graduated from East Greenwich High School and was the first Miss East Greenwich and runner-up for Miss Rhode lsland in 1960. She attended the University of Rhode Island, where she received the university’s first biology degree. In her adulthood, she went on to receive a master’s degree in health education at Rhode Island College. She was a beloved middle-school teacher at both Immaculate Conception School in Kingston, Jamaica and Our Lady of Mercy Parish School in East Greenwich. She was the First Lady of the State of Rhode Island from 2003 to 2011.

Sue and Don Carcieri at the 2015 EGHS Wall of Honor ceremony. Sue was inducted that year.

Besides her husband, she leaves her son Matthew Carcieri and his wife Kristin; daughter Alison Carcieri-Cassidy and her husband Scott; daughter Jill Buckley and her husband Chuck; daughter Sarah Compton and her husband Adam; and brothers Stephen Owren, John Owren, and David Owren. She had fourteen grandchildren: Bridget and her husband Max, Samantha, Chase, Kayla, Anna, Jack, Charlie, Nick, Donovan, Benjamin, William, Colin, Henry and Susannah.

She will long be remembered and adored for her love, kindness, generosity, intelligence, and wit.  She was gracious to all, passionate in her advocacy, and deeply devoted to family and friends. She found pure joy surrounded by her grandchildren in the revelry of summertime fun and once said, “I really am mostly a mother, a grandmother and a wife.”

She was a devout Roman Catholic and a member of Our Lady of Mercy Church and was dedicated to many causes, including Missionaries of the Poor and Mustard Seed Communities.  As First Lady, she led a statewide wellness initiative and convened a task force for the prevention of substance abuse. She created the annual “Governor’s Best” juried art show, conceived a popular intrastate tourism initiative (“Rhode Islanders Touring Rhode Island”) and inaugurated and chaired six “Celebrate Rhode Island” balls benefiting the Good Neighbor Energy Fund.  She received honorary awards from her high school, college, and the American Heart Association. She was passionate about education and promoted achievement by youth in science, and each year presented an award in her name to the middle school winner of the State’s science fair at an annual State House event.

Governor Carcieri expressed his appreciation to all those who have extended condolences, saying, “Thank you for the outpouring of thoughts and prayers for Sue and for all of us, and a special thanks to Governor Raimondo and First Gentleman Moffit. Sue was my life partner and best friend, my most trusted advisor, and the heart and soul of our family.”

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 65 Third St., East Greenwich. Burial will be in St. Patrick Cemetery, East Greenwich. Calling hours will be held on Monday, Nov. 19, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Hill Funeral Home, 822 Main St., East Greenwich. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to Mustard Seed Communities USA or Lifespan Cancer Institute.


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Marie Hennedy
Marie Hennedy
November 15, 2018 7:31 pm

RI (and, of course, EG) just lost the angel in its (State) house. She taught us what it means to be a good neighbor. Thank you, Don and Sue, for your family and for all of your love.

November 15, 2018 8:14 pm

She will be missed very much. I had the pleasure of knowing her. She always made you smile. Very kind and loving woman. My prayers go out to the whole family.

Mark Thompson
November 15, 2018 10:31 pm

Sue and Don Carcieri did their best, as Our Lady of Mercy lay religion instructors, to teach me the tenets of Roman Catholicism in their living room somewhere just off Division Street hard by downtown. It was during the chaotic late 1960s, when many of us weren’t listening too closely. We met again only last summer, at an old-timer EG reunion. Still shellacked by that religious instruction a half-century before, I referred to her as “Mrs. Carcieri.” She batted away my affectation, insisting I call her “Sue.” Some folks, in ways big and small, have an outsize impact on your life that may take awhile to come into focus. So I can only say: Godspeed, Mrs. Carcieri.

Karen Johnson
Karen Johnson
November 16, 2018 3:33 am

Sue was one of the kindest people I have ever met. Deepest sympathy to her Family.

Bonnie Beckman-Sheets
Bonnie Beckman-Sheets
November 16, 2018 8:28 am

Sue was a gracious girl in h s where she & Don began their journey. 53 years together til the end is absolutely awesome & a wonderful tribute to what “dedication” is all about. My sincere sympathy & condolences to Don, family & friends.

Terry Bergeron
Terry Bergeron
November 16, 2018 11:23 am

Wonderful tribute to a beautiful person. My life was enriched by her friendship as an EGHS classmate. I will always remember her. God bless you, Sue and Don.

Jody Sceery
November 19, 2018 11:03 am

The matriarch of a wonderful family, a true role model for everyone in every way. Our love and prayers go out to all of the Carcieri family.


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