Melinda (Lynn) J. Heufelder Ostiguy of Newport, left this life on Wednesday August 15, 2018 lovingly surrounded by her family and moved on to her next adventure (but would have preferred to stick around a bit longer if she had more of a choice).
Born in Washington, D.C., she was the daughter of the late Mary Elizabeth Hickey and grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey before going off to Emerson College where she earned her a B.A. in Sociology. There she met her first husband, John Heufelder, who she traveled with as a navy wife and they had three daughters. They divorced in 1980.
She then rose to the challenge of raising three daughters as a single mom. Lynn decided to pursue higher education and went on to earn not one, but two masters degrees. A Masters of Education in Guidance Counseling from Providence College and a Masters of Social Work at Boston University.
Lynn is well known for her passionate work as the Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center of Newport and Bristol County from 1982 to 1995. Through her vision and stewardship the organization grew from a small team of volunteers working to provide immediate support for domestic violence survivors, to a large scale organization which helped hundreds of women regain their lives. She initiated programs to establish ongoing education and prevention service programs for children who witness as a way to stop domestic violence for the next generation. She brought together community partners in a capital campaign that lead to a permanent home for the center’s offices on Touro Street in Newport. As member of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence she was proud to be one of the many extraordinary women who helped change laws to protect women and change societal views of domestic violence from the late 1970’s through the 90’s. She was honored for her work by the Women’s Resource Center in 2002 as one of the founding mothers.
Lynn found fulfillment in helping others and went on to work as a therapist at Harvard Pilgrim Health Center, East Bay Mental Health Center and in her own independent LICSW therapy practice from 2004 until her retirement in 2017.
Lynn was a passionate learner and reader who loved to study words, learned to paint in her 60’s and studied Spanish just for fun. She inspired her daughters with her passion for learning and her determination to pursue her goals.
Lynn loved to swim in the ocean, sail on Narragansett Bay and travel to our National Parks with Stephen, her husband and partner for 34 years (but not by plane, thank you). She was known to make Christmas a very special experience even when times were hard and found her greatest joy in the company of her children and grandchildren whenever she could.
Lynn is survived by her best friend and husband Stephen P. Ostiguy and her daughters Amy L. McKinnon of Danvers, MA, Gretchen A. Driscoll of Beverly, MA and Erin J. Rodrigues and her husband Michael of Portsmouth. Lynn was the mother-in-law of the late John Driscoll.
Lynn was the very proud “Mimi” to her beloved grandchildren, Maxwell, Brian and Lauren McKinnon, John Stephen and Liam Driscoll, and Noah, Henry and Landon Rodrigues. She also leaves her sister Rosemary Kniffen, of New Braunfels, TX.
Calling hours will be held Monday, August 20, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM in the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport. Her Memorial Mass will be celebrated Tuesday at 10:00 AM in St. Joseph’s Church, Broadway at Mann Avenue, Newport.
Donations in her memory may be made to the Women’s Resource Center of Newport and Bristol County, 114 Touro Street, Newport, RI 02840.