Cover photo for Kelly Sullivan's Obituary
Kelly Sullivan Profile Photo
1987 Kelly 2024

Kelly Sullivan

September 5, 1987 — January 10, 2024

Kelly Teresa Sullivan, 36, of Middletown, RI, passed away, surrounded by her devoted, loving family on Wednesday, January 10, 2024.

Born in Newport on her daddy's birthday September 5, 1987, Kelly Teresa was the daughter of Matthew and Teri (Stritzinger) Sullivan of Middletown.

Growing up in Middletown, Kelly was surrounded by love with Teri, Matthew and Sean. Her love for us was powerful. Matthew taught her courage and perseverance. Teri taught her the love of reading and the power of prayer and meditation. Sean was protective of his little sister and taught her brotherly love and which team to pick for fantasy football. She had a special bond with her Gramma, Papa, Nana, Deac and Autie Chrissy and Uncle Steve. Kelly was always hanging out with Sean, Malia, and Stephanie either at the pool or in Papa's basement putting on plays and singing their hearts out to the latest songs. We were four peas in a pod planning the next adventure, vacations to New Hampshire, Disney World, Washington DC, Williamsville NY, Erie PA and the Grand Canyon. She loved the holidays, especially the magic of Christmas and seeing her Stritzinger/Fagan/Tonet/Sullivan/Nicholson cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Kelly wanted every gift she gave to be special. One Christmas, was the greatest gift, when she was selected to be the Virgin Mary in the children's nativity performance on Christmas Eve at St Mary's Church. Priceless.

As our little family grew over the years, Kelly was so happy to have loving moments of time with Sean and his wife Lauren (the sister she always wanted!) and Hugh Bear, who adored her.

What is a home without our puppy brothers! Kelly had a special bond with each and every one. Mo I, Momo II, Momomo III, Sully and Mo IV. We always knew they would have great care when Sean, Lauren and Kelly babysat so Momma and Papi could have a mini vacation. When Kelly said a command, they would listen attentively and be rewarded with cheerios.

Kelly's education began at Linden School and Aquidneck School. She has remained friends with her elementary classmates and teachers. She was a "frequent flyer" to the Nurses Office under the watch full eye of Donna Byron, RN. She loved being in class plays, especially her favorite in 2nd grade "Mary Poppins" in which she was cast as the Bird Woman. Kelly played basketball and softball with teams at the YMCA and Town of Middletown Little League. Her favorite coach was her dad especially when he would treat the team at the concession stand or Frosty Freeze. At Middletown High School she participated in the MHS Chorus under the direction of Claudia Carlson Vars. Naturally her favorite time of year was spring, and that meant traveling with the chorus for competitions in New York City, and Montreal, Canada. Her summers were spent at Clara Barton Camp for Girls with Diabetes in Oxford, MA, where she was a junior counselor. Graduating from MHS in 2005, Kelly pursued a degree in Early Childhood/Special Education, graduating from RIC in 2011. She studied hard for her PRAXIS exams, and earned her RIDE teacher's license in both disciplines. She had a wonderful way with children, a special talent with sign language, sharing her gift for almost 10 years with Aquidneck Island's youngest as their daycare teacher, and most recently as a reading specialist for young adults. The Human Resources Director at JobCorp in Exeter, RI said, "Words cannot express how sorry we are for your loss. Kelly was one of the sweetest, kindest employees we've ever had here at Exeter." Kelly made a huge impact immediately with her young adult students.

Kelly was fun-loving and enjoyed exploring her native Aquidneck Island and beyond. She was a creative person who developed skills in various maker hobbies. Kelly participated in many local classes and activities like dream catchers, wood-burning, terrariums, wreaths, collecting sea glass, owl prowl, farmer's markets, Folk Fest and Theatre by the Sea. She had a keen eye for photography and captured so many precious moments with family and friends. Kelly had a culinary flare and loved researching new recipes and watching cooking videos. Sweet and sour carrots and mashed potatoes were always a big hit at Thanksgiving. Baffoni Pie at Easter. Her favorites were Gramma's lasagna with meatballs, linguine with clams, filet mignon with a balsamic reduction, seafood paella, and handmade bruschetta with fresh cherry tomatoes from her garden. Kelly cherished her family and loved to honor family traditions by replicating recipes and hosting holidays and family gatherings.

Pool time was extremely important to Kelly. She spent many summers at the pool with Sean, Malia and Stephanie. She was a member at The Marriott Spa where she swam at the club pool and relaxed in the sauna. If an employee needed help, she would happily fold towels and straighten up the locker room. That was her time to meditate and pray.

Ever eager to support her community, Kelly was always first to volunteer her time to foundations and charities, serving causes she cared about with her beautiful smile and gentle humor.

Besides her parents, Kelly leaves her adoring big brother Sean Sullivan and his loving wife Lauren (Haggerty), and her nephew and Godson Robert Hughes Sullivan all of Middletown. Kelly and Hugh Bear spent time together and had cherished Godmother/Auntie Kel Belle moments. He was the apple of her eye.

Kelly also leaves the love of her life, Stephen Mendonca. She loved making a picnic charcuterie board and sitting on Pete's bench with Stevie. Long talks, long walks, meditation, sound bath, the love they shared was simply amazing! Steve and Kelly were surrounded with love in a special prayer blessing and commitment ceremony honoring their union on Sunday January 7, 2024. The ceremony was officiated by Chaplains Ally and Maryclare with the assistance of Father Elias. The song "Sun and Moon" was read to Kelly by Steve. The circle of love included Peg and Mike Mendonca, Lauren and Frank Pasquale, Stephanie Fagan and her fiancée Chris Westfall, and Matthew and Teri Sullivan. We were honored by the dedication and compassion by MGH ICU Blake 12 staff, nurses and doctors and the entire Spiritual Team of Advisors. They were all touched by her smile and kindness.

She is also survived by her aunts and uncles Christine (Stephen) Fagan, Patrick (Grace) Sullivan, Mary (Bryan) Tonet, Kathy (Earl) Nicholson, John F. Sullivan and her Godmother Judy McCarthy.

She is also survived by the entire Mendonca family, her BBC angels, all the members of The North End Club and all our close family and friends who consistently reached out to us. Their prayers and constant support are deeply appreciated.

All of Kelly's close friends, coworkers, students and Pasquale Farms. She so looked forward to working at the farm with her Stevie.

Also, her cousins Malia (Matthew, Hayden), Stephanie (Chris), Jeremy (Beth, Mark, Ben, Allison), Joshua (Stephanie, Sophie, Mia, Luke), Jenna (Amit), Earl and Julie. In Texas, cousin Melissa (Arturo) and Mary (Josh, Emory, Owen, Atlas), and Ray Carroll. Also, her California cousins Diane Ciccone and Alissa and Miguel Bunting, who were always a phone call away sending their support and love.

Kelly was preceded in death by her grandparents Rev. Deacon Joseph and Frances (Kelly) Sullivan and Robert and Teresa (Shea) Stritzinger. Also, her Aunt Anne Carroll, and Uncle Mark Sullivan and Godfather Michael K. McCarthy.

We would also like to mention the continuous support by Jayanthi Parameswaran MD, Hope Ryan, NP, and all the Southcoast Health staff. Also, the tender loving care by Dr. Marina Zambrotta (Dr. Z) and the ICU RNs at Newport Hospital.

Calling hours will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2024 from 4:00pm-7:00pm, at Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, January 19, 2024, at 10:00 am, at St. Mary's Church Spring Street, Newport. Burial will follow at St. Columba Catholic Cemetery in Middletown.

Donations to honor Kelly's life can be made to:
Peter D. Connerton Foundation 152 Bliss Road, Middletown, RI 02842
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Lucy's Church 909 West Main Road, Middletown, RI 02842
St. Mary's Church Lunch Program PO Box 547 Newport, RI 02840
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kelly Sullivan, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 18, 2024

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.


Friday, January 19, 2024

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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