Harriet E. Paroline-Downey

Harriet E. Paroline-Downey, 90, passed away after a short illness on Thursday, May 19, 2016. She was the widow of both Lt. Commander (Ret) James A. Paroline and Stephen F. Downey. Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in varied Long Island communities, she was the daughter of Marie (Hass) and Elbridge Gerry Smith. She is survived by her children Kathleen Vernon (Richard), Marjorie Whitehead (Norman), Richard Paroline (Helen), Nancy Hook (Gerald), Barbara Paroline, Virginia Goodwin (Greg), Charles Paroline (Susan), Claire Paroline, and Elizabeth Stark (Allan). Her son, James G. Paroline, and daughter, Margaret Aleff (Peter), predeceased her. She was proud of her large family, which also included 14 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Harriet was the sister of Betty Ann Addison and the late Marie Shaw. Traveling West to Seattle to join her sister, Marie, during the last year of World War II, she met and married her brother-in-law’s shipmate, Ensign James Paroline, in a whirlwind romance. She traveled widely for many years as the wife of a Navy officer, before settling in Barrington in 1961. After her first husband’s death in 1982, she married Stephen F. Downey, another WWII veteran, in 1997. As retirees, the couple enjoyed traveling around the US and Europe. They were highly involved with church activities and she was an active choir member of Holy Angels Church for 50 years. Her singing career began on New York City radio when she was 11 and included singing for President Franklin Roosevelt’s 60th birthday celebrations. She was also involved in local politics, serving on the Barrington Council of Republican Women and the Providence Mayor’s Commission for People with Disabilities. As a Girl Scout and Brownie leader, she mentored many more children than her own large clan. A passionate gardener, Harriet was also interested in local history and genealogy, photography, reading and music. She enjoyed participating in Barrington’s Senior Center activities and outings until her health declined in her last year of life. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 10:00 AM in Holy Angels Church, 341 Maple Avenue, Barrington. Burial will be private. Calling hours will be held Sunday from 5-8 in the PERRY-MCSTAY FUNERAL HOME, 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence. As a lifelong lover of animals, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in Harriet’s memory be made to the RI Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


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