Obituary: Gennaro “Gene” Perrotti (1921-2023)

Gennaro “Gene” Fortunato Leo Perrotti, 101, of Newport, passed away peacefully at home on June 17, 2023.

Gene was born in Providence on November 24, 1921, Thanksgiving Day. He was the son of the late Mario and Colomba (Razza) Perrotti and the devoted husband of the late Filomena “Fibi” (DiPardo) Perrotti, to whom he was married for 55 years.

Gene moved to Newport when he was 3 years old and grew up on Bridge Street, playing in “The Basin.” He attended Mumford School and graduated from Rogers High School in 1940, where he played on the football team. Gene attended the Rhode Island College of Pharmacy in Providence, now at URI, where he met his wife Fibi. They both became licensed pharmacists and were married in 1946.

For over 50 years Gene, Fibi and his parents owned and operated Perrotti’s Rexall Drug Stores and Perrotti’s Gift Shops located in Newport. Though running the family business and raising 8 children kept them busy, they always found time for dancing and entertaining their circle of friends.

Together with his father, Gene loved to decorate at the holidays. With the support of the Broadway Merchants, their most elaborate endeavor was decorating Equality Park at Christmastime: hoisting Santa and his reindeer onto a trellis high above the park among other festive displays.

Gene loved being of service and was always somewhere lending a helping hand. In the 1970’s, he became the Chairperson of the Newport Democratic City Committee. After retiring, Gene worked for the State of Rhode Island at Newport Jai Alai. He was a highly active, lifelong member of the Kiwanis Club of Newport and proudly held 75 years of perfect attendance! He also held leadership roles as President of the Newport Club and Lieutenant Governor of the former Yankee Division of Kiwanis.

With Kiwanis, Gene helped to raise funds that served the Newport County community – first with concession stands at the Jazz and Folk Festivals, then at the many boat shows from Goat Island to Fort Adams, and finally through a long-standing relationship with the Newport Yachting Center and their many events. If you found a Kiwanis concession stand, you’d find Gene volunteering on the grill.

Gene was a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Church and a member of the St. Joseph’s Men’s Club and spent many a Monday volunteering at their soup kitchen. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

In 2009, M. Thomas Perrotti Park, named originally for his father, was re-dedicated to include Gene for his legacy of service and commitment to the Newport community.

Above all else, Gene was devoted to his family and friends. He is survived by his 8 children: Jeanne M. Perrotti, Thomas A. Perrotti, Teresa A. Occhuizzo (Walter Martin), Sandra P. Connery, Katherine R. Perrotti, Christopher B. Perrotti (Valerie), Anthony M. Perrotti (Audrey) and Joanne Regan (Gerry). Gene also leaves behind 18 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren and countless friends across the island, especially the boys at the Creamery.

The family would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to Sara, Danny from Visiting Nurses Home & Hospice along with his aides Emily and Marilyn for their kindness and exceptional care.

Gene is predeceased by his parents, wife, and grandson Michael C Connery.

Calling hours will be held on Friday, June 23, 2023, from 4:00-8:00 PM in the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport.

Funeral Services will continue Saturday, June 24, 2023, at 8:30 AM from the Memorial Funeral Home, with a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 10:00 AM in St. Joseph’s Church, Broadway and Mann Ave, Newport. Burial will follow in St. Columba Catholic Cemetery, Browns Lane, Middletown.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Vincent de Paul Society at St Joseph’s 5 Mann Ave., Newport RI 02840, Visiting Nurses Home & Hospice 1184 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, RI 02871 or the Kiwanis Club of Newport 181 Bellevue Ave #434, Newport, RI 02840.




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