Obituary: Fran Smith, 74, of Middletown

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — Fran Smith, 74 amazing mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, dear friend and ray of sunshine to all died peacefully on February 5, 2018, surrounded by her family.

Born January 11, 1944, she was the daughter of the late Tom and Rose Rodrigues. Despite a decline in health over the past year she never complained or lost her bright spirit and contagious smile. 

Fran was a life-long resident of Middletown, but her time spent in Disney would have qualified her for equal residency.

She attended Johnson & Wales, and subsequently worked at Newport Naval War College until she married her enormous crush, Gary. She then became a stay at home mom for daughters Holly and Dawn, also volunteering at school. 

Upon Gary’s retirement in 1996 they began their 3-month long winter trips to Disney. Despite many years of going, Fran’s excitement of being there every year was like it was her first time there. She didn’t miss a year of calling her daughters singing and screaming with excitement as they drove through the gates and arrived in Disney. 

Fran was extremely generous and selfless, and would go out of her way to help anyone in need. She was very involved and dedicated to various charities and organizations.

She was a parishioner of Jesus Savior Church, where she belonged to the Rosary Sodality and was a Eucharistic minister bringing communion to people at the hospital/nursing home and at home. In 2010, the Rosary Sodality named her Woman of the year for all of her contributions to the church.

She was also a very active participant in the annual Holy Ghost Feast and Jesus Saviour Bazaar. She also volunteered regularly at Grand Islander Nursing Home, visiting patients and helping with whatever she could. Her smile and exceptional spirit will be deeply missed by many.

Over the past 10 years, Fran began to expand her travel beyond Disney – visiting Alaska and the Azores as well as two cross-country trips with Gary in their RV. She also loved Disney cruises where she earned an award for the guest who rode the AquaDuck (a fast watercoaster/slide) the most times (over 50 times) in one day.

She is survived by her two daughters and sons in-law, Holly Nobert and her husband Richard and Dawn Drake and her husband Tod, and her beloved granddaughter Julia Drake all of Middletown; three sisters, Rose Cote of Middletown, Susan Weaver of North Kingstown, and Mary Rodrigues; a brother, Tom Rodrigues of Portsmouth, several nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be held, Friday, February 9, 2018, from 4:00PM to 8:00PM in the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 10, at 10:30AM from the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30AM in St. Joseph’s Church, Broadway at Mann Avenue, Newport. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers Fran would like everyone to take a trip to Disney and/or make a donation to The Three Angels Fund 594 Indian Ave, Middletown RI 02842 or St. Vincent de Paul Society, 1 Vernon Avenue, Newport, RI 02840 and if you make it to Disney be sure to ride It’s a small world, it was her favorite.

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