Kenneth H. Brockway, 78, Portsmouth

Posted 5/28/19

Kenneth H. Brockway, 78, a husband, father, friend, philosopher and mentor, passed away on May 24, 2019. He was born May 20, 1941.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Marilyn, his children, …

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Kenneth H. Brockway, 78, Portsmouth


Kenneth H. Brockway, 78, a husband, father, friend, philosopher and mentor, passed away on May 24, 2019. He was born May 20, 1941.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Marilyn, his children, Elizabeth Follansbee, Dana Robert Colarulli and wife Nancy Drane, and Katie Brockway; his grandchildren Ailinn Colarulli and Braeden Colarulli; his brother Clifford Brockway and wife Sue, his sister-in-law Lillian Brockway and brother Lawrence, who predeceased him.

Ken devoted 35 years of his professional life to the YMCA, starting as a program director in Boston and retiring as the CEO of the YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester in New York. Ken was very proud of starting a YMCA in Spanish Town, Jamaica and of co-chairing a US-Japan Management Seminar in Toyko, Japan.

Passionate and devoted to serving community, he was a 35-year Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow, serving as president of the Newport Rotary Club and then of that Chapter’s Foundation, president of the Portsmouth Public Education Foundation, a vestry member and fundraiser for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Portsmouth, and a board member for the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Regatta, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport County, and the R.I. Red Cross. 

Ken also successfully served as interim executive director of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum and the Newport Historical Society.

He received his BA from Dakota Wesleyan University and was ordained as a Methodist Minister receiving a Masters of Divinity at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. He also studied in Heidelberg, Germany and traveled throughout continental Europe (more than 10,000 miles). A lover of travel, he visited 48 U.S. states, hitch-hiking across the country four times.

A loving and caring individual, Ken never failed to engage with everyone he met. He changed our lives from ordinary to extraordinary, and we are forever grateful to have shared life with him. We would like to thank the Village House and Rehabilitation Center staff and Visiting Nurse Services and Hospice who cared for all of us through these last few weeks.

In lieu of flowers, per Ken’s wishes, you may make a donation to the Portsmouth Garden Club, P.O. Box 826, Portsmouth, R.I. 02871.

Receiving hours will take place at Connors Funeral Home, 55 West Main Road, Portsmouth, R.I. from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, and a service will be held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 324 East Main Road, Portsmouth, R.I., on Friday, May 31, at 10 a.m. Burial will be private.

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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.