Cover photo for Barbara A. Ruscetta's Obituary
Barbara A. Ruscetta Profile Photo
1930 Barbara 2022

Barbara A. Ruscetta

October 3, 1930 — August 2, 2022

"All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you.

The only lasting truth
is Change."
~Octavia Butler

Barbara Ann Ruscetta, 91, wife, mother, Nana, sister, friend, has provided us with yet another opportunity to learn from change. She left us on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022, in the early afternoon. She would tell you that how you react to change is what determines who you are, and to everyone who knew her, she was our model, our champion of just what true courage is. Though she lost her independence at ten years old, when an accident took the use of her legs away, mom never let her paraplegia stop her from living a long, courageous and productive life.

The community has lost a pillar.

One of mom's proudest achievements was being a founding member of Shake-A-Leg, a non-profit organization for people with spinal cord injury and other neurological problems. She served on the Board of Directors of Shake-A-Leg from 1983 to 1995. She worked tirelessly on the outreach program, traveling the east coast while bringing awareness and education to hospital and rehabilitation center audiences of the special needs and rights of people impacted by these injuries.

Barbara served on the Board of Directors for the Newport Advisory Substance Abuse Task Force. She was a member of the Redwood Library, The Edward King House and the Middletown YMCA. Mom was an avid swimmer and adored her bi-weekly swims at the Y with her wonderful friends. Just to see her in that pool, floats on her legs, snorkel and mask on her face, was a lesson in joy and determination.

Mom was a voracious and avid novel reader-the Redwood and Newport Public librarians would grab the latest novels and have Mario pick them up for her. She loved recommending favorites to her friends. Mom had artistic talent. She loved the art classes that honed her skills; she worked with several mediums: pastel, oils, acrylics and watercolor. And then we were all gifted by wonderful paintings! We are so grateful to have them in our homes.

Mom's happiest times were the summers spent at the beach house, Third beach. Call on any sunny day and you'd find her up on the porch under the umbrella, slathered in sun lotion, stylish suit, hat and sunglasses on, smiling that gorgeous smile that just made you want to sit with her, sharing the piercing blue sky, listening to the gentle sounds of surf and summer.

We are bigger because of you sitting beside us, true and strong, showing how this was a way to live. Thank you. We're adapting to this change; our hearts are broken open.

She is survived by her beloved husband of 68 years, Mario A. Ruscetta. She also leaves her son Paul Ruscetta (Barbara) of Narragansett, RI; daughter Gail Ruscetta (Bryan Mack) of Caribou, Maine; and son Peter Ruscetta of Los Angeles, CA. She leaves her brother, Edward Murphy, of CA; she also leaves her grandchildren, Finn Wilder, of Belfast, Maine; Logan Wilder, of Golden, CO; and Jack Ruscetta, of Narragansett, RI. She is preceded in death by her sister, Patricia M. Bailey.

Visitation: Monday, August 8th, 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI, 02840 401-846-0698

Catholic Mass: Tuesday, August 9th, 10:00 a.m. at Saint Mary's Church, 12 William St, Newport, R.I. 02840 401-847-0475

Burial to follow at St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Browns Lane, Middletown, R.I. 02842, 401-847-4571

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara A. Ruscetta, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, August 8, 2022

4:00 - 7:00 pm

Memorial Funeral Home

375 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am

St. Mary's Catholic Church

12 William Street, Newport, RI 02840

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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