Joan Lynch

Obituary of Joan M. Lynch

Joan M. Lynch of Newport passed away peacefully on October 27, 2021, at the age of 91.  

She was born Joan Marie Murphy in Newport on April 26, 1930, the second of four children of Cornelius F. Murphy and Loretta (Nuss) Murphy.  She was the wife of the late Raymond J. Lynch, to whom she was married for 52 years and with whom she had 7 children.  Joan graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in History and English.  She worked a couple of years as a technical librarian at the U.S. Naval Base in Newport until her marriage in May 1953.  She later worked part-time in the library at Salve Regina College and then full time as a librarian in the Middletown school system.  She was a devout Catholic and for many years a daily communicant, and she always gave much credit for her religious formation to the Sisters of The Cenacle, which had a community near Battery Park in Newport.  Since 1964 she was a parishioner of St. Augustin’s Church.

Joan was known and will be remembered for her deep religious faith and her kind, loving and gentle personality.  A person of strong intellect and intellectual curiosity, she was a life-long learner with a voracious appetite for reading.  She was also a talented painter, as was her mother, and her many landscape and still-life paintings grace the homes of her large family.  A lover of nature, she enjoyed camping and hiking, including countless visits over a period of 60 years to the Mohawk Trail State Forest in Massachusetts, which she considered somewhat of a second home.  She was an enthusiastic traveler who made 40 trips to Europe in her adult life, most often to France, Ireland, and Portugal.  Many of her trips were inspired by a sense of pilgrimage that took her to the great medieval cathedrals, to shrines such as Fatima, Lourdes, Medjugorje, and Paray-le-Monial, and also to remote places such as Skellig Michael, Iona and Lindisfarne.  In her later years she enjoyed car rides around Newport's Ocean Drive and watching sunsets from the hill at Fort Adams. 

Joan was predeceased by her husband Ray, her sister Nancy Walling, and grandsons Dennis, Richard, and Kevin Fitzgerald.  

She is survived by her seven children:  Timothy R. Lynch, Anne M. DeCotis (Henry), Michael C. Lynch (Carolyn); Joan E. Fitzgerald (Stephen); Brigid M. Rubin (Gary); Raymond J. Lynch, Jr. (Patricia); and Mary L. Dobb (George).  Her 10 surviving grandchildren are Sarah Lynch, Katherine Lynch, Alison (DeCotis) Munsey; Meghan (DeCotis) MacDonald; Elizabeth Decotis; Mary (Lynch) VanderKolk, Anna Lynch, Connor Rubin, Ryan Rubin, and Colman Dobb. Joan is also survived by her brother Neal Murphy, her sister Mary Burke, nine nieces and five nephews, and four great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours will be held on Monday, November 1, from 4:00-7:00 pm at the O'Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport.  A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 2, at 10:00 am at St. Augustin's Church, corner of Carroll & Harrison Ave, Newport. Burial will follow at St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Lane, Middletown.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joan’s memory may be made to The Sisters of the Cenacle, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, or the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny,


Visiting Hours

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Monday, November 1, 2021
O'Neill-Hayes Funeral Home
465 Spring Street
Newport, Rhode Island, United States

Mass of Christian Burial

10:00 am
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
St. Augustin's Church
Carroll Avenue, 2 Eastnor Road
Newport, Rhode Island, United States


11:30 am
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
St. Columba Cemetery
465 Brown's Lane
Middletown, Rhode Island, United States

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations

The Sisters of the Cenacle The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny
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