Jenna Brienne Cattell Willey, 33, of North Kingstown and Newport

Posted 8/21/19

We lost our beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend Jenna Brienne Cattell Willey, 33, of North Kingstown and Newport, RI on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. 

From the very moment she arrived, she …

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Jenna Brienne Cattell Willey, 33, of North Kingstown and Newport

Posted

We lost our beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend Jenna Brienne Cattell Willey, 33, of North Kingstown and Newport, RI on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. 

From the very moment she arrived, she was a pistol and a hot tamale. She loved and lived life to its fullest.

She had a huge heart and big dreams. She poked, prodded, and loved her parents, sisters, and brothers with her whole heart. And her love for her nieces and nephews was fierce; no one spoiled them like Aunty Nenna.

She adventured just as fiercely. She rode elephants with her sister in Thailand, rode camels in India, saw the Taj Mahal, became a certified yogi in Costa Rica, saw ancient ruins in Cambodia, ate insects from street vendors to gross out her mom, taught sweet kids in war zones, danced with her dad at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, climbed a 14er in Colorado with her brother, visited family in distant corners of the world like Perth, and swam in every tropical body of water she could find. She made friends everywhere, broke the rules, played hard, and had fun no matter the circumstances.

Jenna’s heart was always planning her next adventure and her toes were never more than a few months from being in the sand again.

Sometimes she was the life of the party, other times a nerdy competitor in games. She was anxious and brave. She was also a hard worker and a wanderer. 

She faced her challenges with bravery, love, and a strong heart. Sometimes the challenges still overcame her. She was a million different things to each of us, but none of us thought we’d have to say goodbye so soon.

Her 33 years were not enough. But she lived each and every moment to its fullest.

Jenna is survived by her parents: Celia and Clayton Donovan, Craig Willey and Bess Walker; her siblings: Seth and Jessica Willey, Mariah Willey, Rachel and Diane Donovan, Claire and Ryan Rand, and Sean Donovan; and her beloved nieces and nephews: Eli, Liam, and Colton Willey, Harlow Donovan, Caleb Rand, Adrianna A’mari Gonzalez, Lilia Grace Elnemer; and many friends that she loved like family.

A service followed by a gathering with refreshments will be held at Westminster Unitarian Church, 119 Kenyon Ave., East Greenwich on Friday, Aug. 23 at 11 a.m. Children and children at heart are encouraged to wear pink. 

Jenna was passionate about helping people cope with the effects of domestic violence and addiction—issues that touched her life as well. So in lieu of flowers, please donate in her name to the Women’s Resource Center, 114 Touro Street, Newport, RI 02840.

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Jim McGaw

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.