J. Joseph Garrahy (November 26, 1930 - January 24, 2012)

J. Joseph Garrahy, 81, of Narragansett, former Governor of Rhode Island, passed away on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. He was the beloved husband of Margherite (DiPietro). They were married 55 years.

Born in Providence, he was the son of the late John and Margaret (Neylon) Garrahy. A graduate of La Salle Academy, he attended the University of Buffalo and the University of Rhode Island.

He served as a member of the United States Air Force during the Korean conflict.

The Governor served in the Rhode Island Senate from 1963-1968, and as Lieutenant Governor from 1969-1976. He served as Rhode Island's Chief Executive Officer from 1977-1985.

He will long be revered for his calm, steady stewardship of our state during the Blizzard of '78. Over the next three decades, he never grew tired of hearing and sharing blizzard stories from fellow Rhode Islanders.

His accomplishments as Governor are many. He once said "I hope they remember me as a Governor who worked hard, who tried to do the best he could for the state - that when I made decisions I always tried to make them in the best interest of the entire state."

The Governor continued to be involved in numerous civic organizations and was proudly inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.

He loved to play golf with family and friends, and they with him, because he was as excited by their birdie as he was of his own. He was also especially proud of his grandchildren and their many accomplishments.

He will be remembered for his devotion to his family, deep faith and legacy of service to others.

In addition to his wife, he leaves his children;

  • Colleen and her husband, Michael Mahoney of Narragansett,
  • John and his wife, Barbara Cottam Garrahy of Providence,
  • Maribeth and her husband, Robert Hardman of Narragansett,
  • Sheila and her husband, Gregory Mitchell of South Kingstown,
  • Seana and her husband, Michael Edwards of South Kingstown,
  • and eleven grandchildren:
    • Ryan and Michaela Mahoney;
    • Katherine and Elizabeth Garrahy;
    • Wesley Hardman;
    • CJ, Todd and Chad Mitchell; and
    • Drew, Brayden and Ellie Rose Edwards.

He was the brother of Edward P. Garrahy and Vincent J. Garrahy, both of Narragansett, and a sister, Mary Penkala of Warwick.

The Governor laid in repose at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence on Monday, from 2-6 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday from the Cathedral at 10 am. Burial was immediately following at St. Francis Cemetery in Wakefield with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Saint Patrick's Academy, 244 Smith Street in Providence, RI 02908.

Obituary and condolences: Russell J. Boyle & Son Funeral Home