Patricia Kirwin Folliard died at the dawn of spring on Wednesday evening, March 20, 2019, at home in Newport surrounded by people she loved and who loved her.
Patty was born on September 12, 1943, in Coronado, California, the first of eight children born to Marcelline Patricia (Olds) Kirwin and Joseph Francis Kirwin, while her father served in the Navy during World War II. She grew up in Newport in the close knit community of the 5th Ward, spending summers at Gooseberry Beach, creating lifelong family and friendship bonds.
She was a graduate of Saint Catherine Academy and received a degree in nursing from Salve Regina College. As a genuine nurturer and gifted healer, Patty ushered in new lives as a birthing coach and parent educator, and she also helped her private patients transition with dignity at the end of their lives. In her practice of psychiatric nursing, she worked with hundreds of clients seeking to recover from addiction, manage the symptoms of mental illness, and live their best future lives. Always, Patty conducted her professional life with compassion and respect for the dignity of each person she encountered. A grounded person, Patty also maintained a healthy respect for the unknowable. She was a true scholar of self-knowledge, the connectedness of body, mind, and spirit, and the healing arts, exploring Gestalt, Reiki, spirituality practices for women, and guided meditation.
Patty’s greatest source of joy and sustenance were her children and grandchildren, as she honored each milestone, welcomed each new grandchild, and relished her trips to Maine. She is survived by three children; Anne and her husband Brad Samson of Falmouth, Maine, Jennifer and her husband Dean Willey of Lisbon Falls, Maine, and Michael and his wife Megan of Newport, as well as her five grandchildren Jeffrey, Anna, and Emma Willey, and David and Claire Folliard. As the eldest of eight siblings she was the matriarch, the sage, the family historian, always present at every family gathering even if she was late. Six siblings survive her; Garrett and his wife Susan of Melbourne Beach, Florida, Elizabeth of Newport, Peter and his wife Jean of Portsmouth, Christopher and his wife Cynthia, Terence and his wife Katherine all of Newport, Stephen and his wife Barbara of Portsmouth, along with sister-in-law Dorothy Kirwin. She was predeceased by her brother Joseph P. “Jay” Kirwin, who is survived by Mary Ellen Kirwin. Patty has an extended family of numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins who will also miss her as well as many cherished friends. She is also survived by her former husband and the father of her children James Folliard. We will all remember her love of her cottage garden, her warmth and contagious laughter, her hand knitted sweaters, and her storytelling gifts.
In the last year Patty remained fully engaged in life. She traveled to Maine twice to celebrate her 75th birthday and Christmas and to Florida in February to surprise her sister Betty for her 70th birthday. She delighted in her children and grandchildren, remained a good and giving friend, and enjoyed evening concerts at Gooseberry Beach with Betty all while receiving intensive treatment through the Lifespan Cancer Institute. We admire her positive spirit and determination to enjoy every minute of her life.
Everyone is invited to calling hours on Saturday, March 23rd, from 2-5p.m., at O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport, to be immediately followed by a celebration of her life at Hibernian Hall, 2 Wellington Avenue, Newport.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, 1184 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871.