EAST GREENWICH — Suzanne Owren Carcieri, 76, former First Lady of Rhode Island, passed away on Thursday, November 15, 2018 surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved wife of former Governor Donald L. Carcieri. They were married 53 years.
Born in Providence, daughter of Ivar and Patricia Owren, she graduated from East Greenwich High School and was the first Miss East Greenwich and runner-up for Miss Rhode lsland in 1960. She attended the University of Rhode Island, where she received the university’s first Biology degree and was a member of Chi Omega Sorority. In her adulthood, she went on to receive a master’s degree in health education at Rhode Island College. She was a beloved middle-school teacher at both Immaculate Conception School and St. Joseph’s Teachers College in Kingston, Jamaica and at Our Lady of Mercy Parish School in East Greenwich. She was the First Lady of the State of Rhode Island from 2003 to 2011.
Besides her husband, she leaves her son Matthew Carcieri and his wife Kristin; daughter Alison Carcieri-Cassidy and her husband Scott; daughter Jill Buckley and her husband Chuck; daughter Sarah Compton and her husband Adam; and brothers Stephen Owren and wife Joan, John Owren and wife Gerry, and David Owren. She had fourteen grandchildren: Bridget and her husband Max, Samantha, Chase, Kayla, Anna, Jack, Charlie, Nick, Donovan, Benjamin, William, Colin, Henry, and Susannah.
She will long be remembered and adored for her love, kindness, generosity, intelligence, and wit. She was gracious to all, passionate in her advocacy, and deeply devoted to family and friends.
She was a devout Roman Catholic and a member of Our Lady of Mercy Church and was dedicated to many causes, including Missionaries of the Poor and Mustard Seed Communities. As First Lady, she led a statewide wellness initiative and convened a task force for the prevention of substance abuse. She created the annual “Governor’s Best” juried art show, conceived a popular intrastate tourism initiative and inaugurated and chaired six “Celebrate Rhode Island” balls benefiting the Good Neighbor Energy Fund. She received honorary awards from her high school, college, and the American Heart Association. Throughout her life, she had a profound love for music and theater, which led her to participate in many productions with the Academy Players and even travel to Rome with the Our Lady of Mercy Choir to perform for Pope John Paul II.
A Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at Our Lady of Mercy Church, in East Greenwich, with burial in St. Patrick Cemetery, East Greenwich. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to Mustard Seed Communities USA or Lifespan Cancer Institute