Sarah Toste Amaral, 86, of Bristol

Posted 7/1/20

Sarah Toste Amaral, 86, of Bristol passed away on June 18, 2020, at Rhode Island Hospital.  Sarah was born and lived her entire life in Bristol, a town she loved and served with passion.

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Sarah Toste Amaral, 86, of Bristol


Sarah Toste Amaral, 86, of Bristol passed away on June 18, 2020, at Rhode Island Hospital.  Sarah was born and lived her entire life in Bristol, a town she loved and served with passion.

The youngest child of Joseph Fraga Toste and Virginia (Silvia) Toste, Sarah prided herself in being the daughter of a farmer. Raised working on her family farm, she grew up with an appreciation for hard work, the land and family.  After graduating from Colt Memorial High School in 1952, Sarah stayed on at the farm to care for both of her parents until their passing. She then devoted her time to raising her children while working as a housekeeper.

During this time Sarah became very interested in the politics of Bristol and voiced her opinions in numerous “Letters to The Editor” that ran in the Bristol Phoenix. As a regular attendee of the Bristol Town Council meetings, her passions included stopping the proposed Interstate 895 or anything she thought would be a detriment to the town she loved.


In 1978, when there wasn’t anyone to run as a Republican for the position of Town Administrator, Sarah took on the challenge and to the surprise of many, she won. She was the first woman elected to run a municipality in the state of Rhode Island, serving two terms as Bristol’s Town Administrator. Her accomplishments during her tenure included having toxic waste illegally buried in the town landfill removed, supporting a sewer bond in the millions and following through with the state-mandated revaluation of the town. Of all of her achievements, she took most pride in stopping the highway which would have destroyed the town she loved.

Upon leaving the Town Administrators office, Sarah continued her career in public service with a position at the Attorney General’s Office as a consumer advocate and then in the Department of Transportation for Parks and Rides. After retiring, she became a member of the Bristol Fourth of July Committee and volunteered her cooking and baking services to St. Elizabeth’s Church and St. Thomas the Apostle Church. During her retirement, Sarah rekindled the passion for drawing and painting that she had in her youth. She was honored to have a piece of her work, a painting of James “Jimmy” Rielly, displayed in the Bristol Town Hall.

Sarah was the widow of Manuel G. Amaral and is survived by her children, Virginia Amaral of Warren, R.I., Manuel G. Amaral III and his wife Lisa (Lovejoy) Amaral of Peoria, Ariz., and her grandson, Samuel T. Amaral and his wife Samantha Myers Amaral of Forest, IA. She was the sister of Virginia (Toste) Chauvin of East Providence, R.I. and the late Theodore August, Helen (Toste) August, Maria Guiomar (Toste) Dias, Lucinda (Toste) Sousa, Joseph F. Toste Jr., John F. Toste and George F. Toste.

Sarah spent the last twenty-seven years with her companion, John L. Ferreira, who recently preceded her in death. She is also survived by John’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, services will be held at a date and time to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Friends of the Bristol Animal Shelter, PO Box 155, Bristol RI 02809; Bristol Rescue,  PO Box 775, Bristol, RI 02809; The RI Community Food Bank, 200 Niantic Ave.,  Providence, RI 02907; or Operation Smile, 3641 Faculty Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23453 would be deeply appreciated.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.