Obituary: William R. Charboneau (1944-2024)

William R. Charboneau, 79, of Portsmouth, RI and Venice FL, peacefully passed away at home on January 29, surrounded by his loving family.

Bill was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1944 to Doris (Malcolm) and Leo Charboneau and was a graduate of Cranston High School East. He married Meryl Lee Zerbus (dec.1991) in 1974. Bill and Meryl had two children, their pride and their joy, who have inherited his love for the ocean, and his abounding energy. Nicole Oliveira (David) of Portsmouth, RI and Ryan Charboneau (Ann Fleury) of Campton, NH. He leaves behind three adored grandchildren, Keenan Oliveira (Abby), Kailey Oliveira, and Kendyl Oliveira. Bill was the big brother to Linda Haigh (dec), James Allen (dec), Susan Williamson, Harry Green, Jeanne Chu, Patty Charboneau, and Carol Sanderson. Bill’s niece Melissa Sanderson Gorton (Shane) and nephew Michael Chu mourn his passing. Also grieving is his beloved partner, Karen Kavanagh.

Countless times during his 20’s, Bill’s passions of surfing and hockey took him from RI to California and had him traveling the eastern seaboard. Once settled on Aquidneck Island, Bill continued to play hockey and became an enthusiastic and devoted local youth hockey coach for many years.

His entrepreneurship created thriving businesses including Yankee Builders and Newport Amusements at Easton’s Beach. Bill retired from Salve Regina University after serving 20 successful years as Superintendent of Trades Facilities.

William was a lover of life and sought joy in everything he did. He was not shy to introduce himself and loved connecting with others. Bill was genuine and was always eager to help out however he could. He was exceptionally humble, but also had a brilliant silent pride that was evident in his comportment. He remained a child at heart, making even the most mundane tasks fun, and always had a flare for adventure. Bill loved traveling extensively and had a deep appreciation for the wonders of the world. He loved being busy, and was happiest when working, especially building. Bill has left a physical legacy that demonstrates his amazing skills not only across Aquidneck Island but in any place he called home and even the places he visited. His impressive skill set allowed him to help others in so many ways both personally and professionally. His wide range of incredible accomplishments are a testament to his remarkable work ethic but also more importantly his mighty spirit and gentle heart.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bill’s memory can be made to or

A Memorial Mass will held on Wednesday, February 7, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Barnabas Church in Portsmouth, RI




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!