Obituary: Kathleen “Katie” (Kelly) Lawless (1947-2023)

Kathleen “Katie” (Kelly) Lawless, beloved sister, aunt, and friend, passed away on November 22, 2023, in Newport, Rhode Island at the age of 76.

Born on September 26, 1947, Katie was the daughter of the late John Nicholas and Madeline Wilson Kelly. She grew up in a loving family with four siblings. Her brother Michael donated a kidney to her in 1978 and she was known in the medical community for having one of the longest surviving kidney transplants. Katie always enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, and her hobbies included playing mahjong and reading. Everyone that met her loved her instantly. She would light up a room and make everyone around her feel special.

Katie was preceded in death by her sisters, Jane Kelly Flaherty, and Judith Kelly Berring. She is survived by her brother, Michael Kelly, and sister, Andrea O’Donnell. She was like a mother to her nieces Stephanie Slone (Flaherty) and Deborah Grover (Flaherty). She will also be deeply missed by her other nieces and nephews, Kevin Kelly, Shelby O’Donnell, Gregory O’Donnell, Michaela O’Donnell, and Jake O’Donnell. She had three best friends of many, many decades, Diane Flaherty, Maryann Cross, and Kate Ridlon who were like family and filled her life with friendship and love.

Services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Kidney Fund in Katie’s memory by visiting She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. May she rest in peace.

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Kathleen “Katie”, please visit our Tree Store.

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