Cover photo for Kathleen Updegrove's Obituary
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1953 Kathleen 2023

Kathleen Updegrove

December 28, 1953 — February 13, 2023

Kathleen Anne (Flack) Updegrove, 69, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, passed away Monday, February 13, 2023 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital with her family by her side after valiantly battling Scleroderma-induced Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension while awaiting a lung transplant.

Kathy and her husband Richard (Rick) Updegrove were inseparable from the start; May 28, 2023 would have marked their 45th anniversary. Together, they raised three wonderful children who were Kathy's world; Lauren McBride (Kathryn) of South Burlington, VT; Andrew Updegrove (Courtney) of Derry, NH; and Bradley Updegrove (Elizabeth) of Norfolk, MA. Kathy leaves behind four grandchildren (Riese, Quintin, Kiera, Dylan), whom she loved and doted on as much as humanly possible. Kathy is preceded in death by her parents, Paskle P. and Gertrude Flack of the Fifth Ward; she also leaves behind two sisters, Patricia McLean of Portsmouth, RI, and Maureen McEvoy of Middletown, RI, as well as her brother-in-law Dr. Randall Updegrove (Ann Sullivan) of Kingston, RI, as well as several nephews, nieces, and cousins.

Kathy's commitment to children was reflected in her passionate and exemplary career as an educator. After graduating from URI in 1976, Kathy first entered the classroom as a 6th grade teacher at the New School (now known as Penfield School). After marrying in 1978, Kathy and Rick moved to South Bend, Indiana. While Rick pursued law school, Kathy spent her days in the classroom as a full-time Kindergarten teacher and reading specialist at the Battel School in Mishawaka, Indiana. Upon returning to Aquidneck Island, Kathy accepted a position at the Wilbur and McMahon School in Little Compton, RI, where she spent the next twenty-seven years teaching Kindergarten, Third Grade, and acting as a reading specialist until her retirement in 2010. In retirement, Kathy's everlasting love for early education and reading brought her to St. Philomena's School for ten additional years while also actively participating as contributing member of the Portsmouth Education Foundation.

Kathy was designated as the teacher of the year at Little Compton in 2010; she was nominated for the Disney Teacher Award, participated in SALT team visits and evaluations of other school districts for the RI Department of Education, and acted as a cooperating teacher for Roger Williams College, Rhode Island College, and Salve Regina College. Kathy was always quick to volunteer and participate in numerous educational development programs focusing on reading, writing, and math, and she was a proponent of initiatives for educational intervention for children with autism, and the NECAP report card analysis.

In addition to her skills and commitment to education, Kathy was the queen of extracurricular activities for her three children. Kathy learned to be a dedicated "hockey mom" for all three children (albeit quick to cover her eyes when her children mixed it up in the corners). She also learned the rules of such disparate sports as little league baseball and softball, lacrosse, golf and field hockey.

Kathy was the consummate beach-goer and could always be found enjoying a sun-soaked summer day with her many friends at Second and Third Beach or, as is the case for most ex-Fifth Warders, at her beloved Gooseberry Beach where she was especially proud of her parent's status as founders.

Kathy loved to travel with her husband and children, escaping the harsh New England winters for warmer climates, frequenting Caribbean destinations over the years and more recently enjoying annual extended stays in Siesta Key, Florida. Later in life, Kathy and Rick discovered the joys of traveling abroad, taking several trips throughout Europe often together with family. Kathy took immense pride in planning and organizing each trip, establishing the itineraries, and, without fail, pointing her husband in the right direction.

Kathy held valued friendships with many across the community, including lifelong friends, colleagues, students, and most recently the support groups to which Kathy became a cherished member. Kathy will be sorely missed by her family and a litany of close friends and the connections she made with everyone she came across.

Calling hours will be held Monday, February 20th from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Connor's Funeral Home, 55 West Main Road, Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Her funeral service will be held at St. Mary's Episcopal Church at 324 East Main Road, Portsmouth, Rhode Island at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 21st. Interment will be at St. Mary's cemetery directly following the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to any of the following organizations:
the National Scleroderma Foundation,
the National Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension ("PAH") Foundation,
the Little Compton Education Foundation,
the Portsmouth Education Foundation,
and the Alice Brightman Fund at the Portsmouth Veterinary Clinic.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kathleen Updegrove, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, February 20, 2023

3:00 - 7:00 pm

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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am

St. Marys Episcopal Church

East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871

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