Obituary: Francis “Rocky” Barbato (1930-2022)

Francis “Rocky” Barbato, 92, of Newport, died at home on September 25, 2022, with his family by his side. Frank was born on January 17, 1930, in Newport, RI. He is the son of the late Anthony and Rose Marie (Christiano) Barbato. He was the husband of Valerie (Penkethman) Barbato.

Frank is a lifelong Newporter, attended St. Mary’s School and the Portsmouth Priory, and was a 1949 graduate of De La Salle Academy. He excelled in sports, earning All Prep and All County in football at both Portsmouth Priory and De La Salle, and All State in Tennis. He continued playing football while attending URI. Rocky joined the USMC Reserve and served in the 2nd Marine Division as a platoon Sargent in a Recon Unit.

After military service, Rocky began a long and successful career in the insurance business. He worked for Metropolitan Insurance for 26 years, first in sales and later for Metropolitan Consultants. He was a million dollar sales winner and earned the company’s “Man of the Year” distinction twice. After retiring from his insurance career he quickly found another proud career, serving in the Naval Base Police Force for 10 years. Rocky was a member of the De La Salle Alumni Association and Newport Rotary. He was an avid runner and passionate about physical fitness, entering in many 5Ks. He was a lifeguard for Easton’s Beach, and a member of Hazard’s Beach for the majority of his lifetime.

He is survived by his two daughters; Valerie (Dan) Withers of Portsmouth, and Vanessa (Tommy) Diomandes of Portsmouth, two loving sisters; Margaret Way, Madeline Barbato, his grandchildren; Lauren, Evan, Steve, and Matthew, and seven great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Valerie Barbato, and his brother, Nicholas Barbato.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, September 29, 2022, at 11:00 AM in St. Mary’s Church, Spring Street, Newport. Burial with military honors will follow in St. Columba Cemetery, Middletown.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association.



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