Obituary: Annette L. Reynolds (1927-2022)

Annette L. Reynolds, 95, Newport, RI, passed away serenely with family at her bedside on Saturday, December 3, 2022, at the Grand Islander Center in Middletown, RI. Annette was born in Springfield, MA to Alfordor LaRiviere and Bessie (Mygrants) LaRiviere on July 28, 1927. Annette was the first in her family to be born in a hospital.

Annette graduated from Springfield Technical High School with a college preparation diploma in 1944. Attended Newport School of Nursing “Cadet Nurse Training Program,” sponsored by the government, to become a war nurse graduating in 1947. Since the war had ended, Annette did residency work in other hospitals gaining more nursing credentials.

She returned to work at Newport Hospital and attended social activities with her nursing friends. There she met her future husband, Thomas Reynolds, Navy WWII veteran, at a Navy dance and got married to him in April 1949.

She worked at New port Hospital for 39 years, there finding her passion, maternity nursing. Being a maternity nurse gave her great joy and fulfillment caring for moms and babies. It was not a job. It was her calling.

Every facet of being a nurse satisfied her needs. What Annette found in her passion, nursing, is it’s challenging, requires continuous learning, compassion, always helping others, relieve others pain, encouraging promising talent to pursue a career in nursing, constant efforts to improve the lives of others. This kept Annette inspired her whole life. Each day Annette looked forward to being at the hospital caring for new mothers and babies.

This inspired her to create, a first of its kind, birthing class, for mothers to be. It was to improve the prenatal care, understanding of gestation and was held in the old James Building, which no longer exists. When it started Annette was asked what she knew about maternity. Annette’s response was I have six children with two sets of twins, so I know a lot about it. The classes were successful, were expanded and continue today.

As an example of generosity, long ago, a nurse, just out of nursing school, asked if Annette could help write the wedding invitations because of her beautiful handwriting. Annette did them all for her without regard to how busy Annette was that day.

With all that went on in her life, her family was her highest priority. Attending games, recitals, school events Annette was an advocate for her children. Annette stressed inclusion for her son James, who was handicapped with Cerebral Palsy. She was a strong advocate for him and his education. Grand children lived with her when needed and she adopted a seventh child, her nephew, Jack Kesler, when he needed support. Annette was a tireless and uplifting role model for all that met her. She enjoyed life making the most of every day and advising all of us to enjoy ours to the fullest and to keep busy.

Annette ate healthy meals and exercised to maintain her health and active schedule. There were frequent trips to the Boys & Girls Club swimming pool for exercise. When her sight began to decline, she became involved with the organization INSIGHT which helps people with low vision. This helped her with tools and techniques to keep herself as active as possible. Listing some of her activities: Played the piano, loved canoeing, square dancing, member of the Red Hat Society, played golf, was a golf handicap chairwoman, loved playing Bridge, went camping, loved to travel (ie, Europe, ice glaciers, California to visit family) went Dogsledding in Alaska, needle point, knitting, sewing, swimming.

Annette was a parishioner of Saint Joseph Church while being member of its Holy Rosary and Altar Society. Annette stayed connected to the hospital she loved by volunteering at the gift shop for years after retirement. Her knitting and sewing projects were examples or her artistic talent. Her needle point pieces were sometimes framed. She knitted many Christmas stockings, sweaters, and blankets for her grand & great grandchildren.

During summer days her Curry Avenue home would have its windows open. Annette would play the piano which was in a room near the front of her house. Her neighbor, Vicky, special needs, would come to sit on the front steps and listen to Annette play. It gave them both joy.

Any chance she had to read Annette took it. She was an avid reader her whole life. When she was a child she would climb in a tree, find a sunny spot, and read. The Kindle we gave her for Christmas was always running out of space for her books.

It was a life well lived. Annette loved life and enjoyed it to its fullest. We think that is why she stayed with us so long. We were lucky to have her as a friend and a mom. Annette left nothing in the tank when she said goodbye. The only way to sum up Annette’s life and to honor it is to create a hashtag for her. It is #1WonderfulLife! Goodbye mom, Nana, Annette we will all miss you.

Annette is survived by her children: daughter Joanne L. Souza of Portsmouth, RI (husband Alan) son Gerald S. Reynolds of Morro Bay, CA (partner Donna) son Thomas J. Reynolds of Los Osos, CA (wife Cynthia), son Paul T. Reynolds of Southington, CT (wife Myra). Her nieces & nephews: Mary, Michael, Patrick, Peter, Jack, Carol, and “sisters” Barbara Beaulieu, Dorothy Whitaker, Nancy Cordner. Her grandchildren: Rory, Haylie, Brian, Michelle, Kyle, Keith, Michael, Catherine, Adam. Her great-grandchildren: Chloe, Remi, Ryah, Connor, Lilly, Bradley, Wesley, Olivia, Ashlyn, Matthew, Chase, Adelaide. Annette is preceded in death by her father Alfordor, mother Bessie, husband Thomas, son James, son Francis, sister Romona, sister Eleanor, sister Thelma, brother Raymond, brother-in-laws James and John, sister-in-laws Josephine, Rose and Catherine.

The Reynolds family wishes to extend its gratitude to the Grand Islander Center in Middletown for the genuine caring & quality care they gave Annette. The hospice team was outstanding.

Visitation will be held Saturday, December 10 from 8:30 – 9:30 am in the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport, RI. A Mass of Christian burial will follow at 10:00 am in St. Joseph’s Church, corner of Broadway & Mann Ave, Newport. Burial will follow in St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Lane, Middletown.

Flowers may be delivered to the funeral home prior to visitation.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Annette, please visit our floral store.


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