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Mary M. Rockwell

September 11, 1955 January 5, 2022
Mary M. Rockwell
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Obituary for Mary M. Rockwell

Mary M. Rockwell, 66, of Providence, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket, mother of the late Timothy Rockwell, died in her Woonsocket home on January 5, 2022. She was born in Providence on September 11, 1955 to parents Joseph Rockwell of East Providence and Mary Orm Rockwell of Providence. She is survived by Tou Khang, her loving partner of 29 years, her three honorary sisters: Jann Campbell, Jeanne Fargnoli, and Sarah Fitzpatrick, her honorary nieces Honey and Rosanna Campbell, her honorary great-nephew Dan Cavanaugh, her brother Paul Rockwell of Great Falls, Montana and his many children and grandchildren.

Mary spent close to her entire career in the non-profit sector where she used her administrative and social skills to help a variety of people. In her twenties, she helped settle the refugees from the Vietnam War. She was the face of their new home as she greeted them at the airport, sometimes in the middle of the night. She later worked at the Southeast-Asian Development Corporation. She danced with the deposed Prince of Cambodia during one of their events.

Later at RI Project AIDS, she saw AIDS go from a death sentence to a manageable disease. She fought stigma and worked as a liason with the Providence Police Department to dramatically improve the relations between the Providence Police and the gay community. She did travel logistics for Dr. Anthony Fauci during the fight for a treatment for AIDS. She worked at the Rhode Island Council on Domestic Violence and with an agency for developmentally challenged individuals in Northbridge, MA and later at the Rhode Island Indian Council. Afterwards, she worked for many years at the John Hope Settlement House where she was the administrative assistant for the social services program and served as the executive assistant to the distinguished Thomas R. Witten. She also edited his well-received History of the John Hope Settlement House.

She was known as a very avid Red Sox fan and had great knowledge of baseball strategy. She was a fashionista, especially concerning shoes. Books were her passion and she always carried one with her since childhood. Known for her wry sense of humor, she could make anyone laugh in any crisis by pointing out the absurdity of the human condition and the rule of Murphy’s Law. She had a passion for the ocean and was always happiest on the Rhode Island shore or the coast of Maine. She especially loved North Kingstown Town Beach, where her family had a bathhouse in her childhood, Salty Brine Beach in Galilee, Block Island, and Boothbay Harbor, Maine. She had a deep love of all things New England and fulfilled her lifelong dream of going to the Norman Rockwell Museum- Norman Rockwell was her cousin. She also loved all things British, including British Invasion Rock’n Roll and Shakespeare. She visited London when she was in her 30’s.

She always stood for the underdog and had little tolerance for bullies or stinginess. She was generous and there for her loved ones. She was equally comfortable at a Buddhist New Year’s Celebration, becoming immersed in the Narragansett or Wampanoag Cultures, talking with tots from the West End of Providence, advocating for gay rights, sitting on the beach with a book, or at an elegant afternoon tea. She will be missed for her humor, generosity, and magnanimity by all who loved her. She made a difference. A celebration of her life will take place late Spring at the North Kingstown Town Beach. For future information: call Jann Campbell at (401)-954-0501.

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