Obituary: Patricia Ann “Patty” Kelly Martin (1949-2024)

Patricia Ann “Patty” Kelly Martin, 74, of Newport, passed away on February 8, 2024, with her family by her side.

The daughter of Thomas F. and Anna (Hamilton) Kelly, Patty was born on April 14, 1949. The fourth child but first girl, she was raised with high expectations and no exceptions for her gender, setting the foundation for a life of dedication, service, and achievement.

Patty was a member of the St. Catherine’s Academy Class of 1967 and was awarded a full scholarship to Salve Regina College where she earned her degree in Special Education in 1971. She embraced the opportunity to advocate for her students and directly challenged the barriers and attitudes they faced.

In 1982 she earned a certificate from Katherine Gibbs and began what would become a 22-year career in the Civilian Personnel Office at Naval Station Newport. From Personnel Specialist to Benefits Manager to Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, “Pat Martin” guided thousands during their employment with commitment and empathy. She earned several commendations and accolades but treasured the personal appreciation from the employees and their families the most.

Patty was a passionate advocate for humanity and kindness. In each chapter of her life, she found ways to give selflessly to those in need: from her grade school days in Catholic Daughters of America to using her creative talents in retirement to embroider baptism bibs for St. Augustin’s Church and implement a Volunteer Driving Service Program for the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. She was the 2017 Lady Hibernian of the Year.

Nowhere greater was Patty’s kindness felt than through her support for family and friends who regularly sought her sage, sound, and perfect guidance. Like her beautiful talent for gardening, she helped everyone around her grow and flourish.

Except for a few brief stints, Patty was a proud lifelong resident of Newport’s Fifth Ward. She was a devoted parishioner of St. Augustin’s and original family member of her beloved Gooseberry Beach. And while her Fifth Ward roots ran deep, she embraced her experiences off island too. From long weekends in Boston and vacations in Maine and New Hampshire to trips with family to Ireland and Florida, she embodied the motto “Deep roots, strong wings.”

Patty was the beloved wife of Michael J. Martin, Sr. for 53 years, devoted mother to Michael, Jr., and Amy (Fran), and proudest Nana to Tori, Donovan, Devon, Annie, Kelly, and Brigid. Teaching the six of them to always be kind, find the good in every situation and have fun every day was her greatest achievement.

She also leaves brothers Rick and David, sisters-in-law Joan Crowley Kelly, Joan Dwyer Kelly, Mary Ann Kelly, Tina Martin, Nancy Martin Gavin and Mary Martin, brothers-in-law Peter Martin, Steve Martin and Jim Gavin, 15 nieces and nephews, and her cherished Fifth Ward Ladies.

Her parents, Tom and Ann, brothers Tom and Larry, sister-in-law Sherry Kelly, and her best friend Sandra Rossi Clooney preceded her.

Visiting hours will be held Monday, February 12, from 4-7 pm at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport, RI. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, February 13 at 10 am at St. Augustin’s Church, corner of Carroll & Harrison Avenue, Newport, RI. Burial will be at St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Lane, Middletown, RI.

Donations in Patty’s memory can be made to Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, by visiting

In honor of Patty, smile at a stranger, sing loudly to your favorite music, and never, ever pass judgment on anyone. “You never know what’s going on behind someone’s front door.”




Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!