Sadly, her loved ones announce the peaceful passing of a Newport icon – Catherine “Katey” Grovell.
She is survived by her loving daughter Juliet Figueiredo of Dunnallon, FL; her granddaughter Carrissa Hankins of Ocala, FL; her grandson Edward Zommer of Citrus County, FL; and a great grandson Memphis Zommer.
Katey was also a loving part of the Saccucci and Karousos families, and she will be greatly missed by Barbara, Dina, Teddy, George, Alex, Zach and Sophia. Jerry Roos, a close friend, will also mourn Katey’s passing.
Katey was known to many Newporters as the little lady who would walk up and down Broadway daily, visiting Dunkin’ Donuts, Cumby’s, and her favorite restaurant – The Hungry Monkey. Everyone knew Katey, and walking with her was like being with the Mayor of Newport. She was actually featured as one of Newport’s “Newportant People” in a published series.
Katey’s fame did not end there, as her small stature was no obstacle to her athletic abilities over an 80 year period. She starred in softball, tennis, and basketball, at Rogers High School. In 1949, Katey received the Outstanding Newport Female Athlete award and went on to receive hundreds of medals in the RI Senior Olympics over a 30 year period that ended in 2019.
When Katey worked at the Goat Island Torpedo Station, she would stop at Cardines Field on her way home and gather the bats, and balls, on the field as perhaps, baseball’s first “bat girl”. Legend has it, that Katey once played catch with “Satchel” Paige during one of his barnstorming team’s games at that field. Her relationship with Cardines culminated in 2019, when Katey became an inductee into the George Donnelly Sunset League Hall of Fame.
For many, their Katey sighting occurred during Newport’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. You would see her in her signature fisherman knit sweater and hat, adorned with elephant pins, and bedecked in beads, smiling and waving as she marched proudly with groups like the NYPD Emerald Society.
For others, she could be spotted at work – manning the booth at the Yachting Center parking lot; delivering Newport This Week, around Aquidneck Island; or shuttling many friends to appointments or grocery shopping. Her kindness to others was unparalleled.
One could write so much more about this wonderful, sweet (but stubborn), accomplished woman. Katey leaves her mark on the City that she loved throughout her life, and she has shown us that “good things come in small packages”.
Visiting hours for Katey will be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 4-6pm at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport.
Katey did not care about flowers. She cared about animals, and elephants topped her list – with dogs and cats a close second. In her honor, please consider a donation to one of the following organizations: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (elephants.com) or B Free Farm in Tiverton, RI (bfreefarm.com).
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