Obituary: Donald Vacchi, 80, former PMS principal

Donald Vacchi
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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Donald Vacchi, 80, died on January 13, 2017 in Providence.

Originally from Plymouth, Massachusetts, Don was born on November 26, 1936, the son of Eleanor Manfredi of Kingston, Massachusetts, and Luigi Vacchi of Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

He received his primary and secondary education in the Plymouth public schools, and he was a graduate of Northeastern University and Rhode Island College, where he had his first taste of what great educators could do for their students- hence his career choice in public education. He enjoyed a position teaching American military children at Vilseck Army Base in Bavaria, Germany.

He worked in Rhode Island public education for more than thirty years, first as a teacher in Tiverton and later in Portsmouth as the principal at Hathaway School. Vacchi spent most of his career as the principal of Portsmouth Middle School, where he was instrumental in the foundation of the school’s culture of excellence.

He had a great joie de vivre and was always a good sport at all events (some may remember things like donkey basketball!) and any themed days or parties he got a big kick out of being all-in.

A lifelong fan of New England sports teams, he was a particularly enthusiastic supporter of the Boston Red Sox. For many years he and a group of friends maintained regular outings to Fenway Park as The Green Monster Club. Traveling to Winter Haven, Florida to support the BoSox in spring training was certainly a break from long New England winters.

Vacchi enjoyed collecting vintage radios and baseball memorabilia, coaching and playing baseball, attending live theater and musicals, and building an impressive and extensive collection of traditional jazz recordings. He was especially fond of the great female jazz vocalists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Billie Holiday.

He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Diane Bucci of Middletown; daughter Sue Rosenbaum of Virginia; son David Vacchi of North Carolina; son Steve Vacchi of Oregon; and grandchildren Ella Vacchi and Brian Vacchi, also of North Carolina.

The celebration of life will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to The Philip Hulitar Hospice Center (www.hopehospiceri.org) and The Jimmy Fund (www.jimmyfund.org).

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