PROVIDENCE – Lois A. Tabela, 84, died March 17 at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center. She was the wife of Frank E. Tabela.
Born in Providence, she was a daughter of the late Andrew W. and Christine (Clement) Washington. She worked for the Diocese of Providence as the director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, and was a parishioner of St. Michael Church, where she served as a lector and extraordinary minister of holy Communion.
She was a member of the Parish Council, the Diocesan Catholic Interracial Council and also the Diocesan Gospel Choir, and a former board member of Aids Care Ocean State, the initial Oxford Gardens advisory board, the Providence Community Health Centers, the South Providence Development Corporation, Amos House, the St. Martin DePorres Center, and St. Xavier Academy.
During her career, she was on the staff of the Providence Human Rights Commission and a social worker at Women and Infants Hospital. She was also a Jefferson Award for Public Service recipient and a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island. Active in the civil rights movement in Rhode Island, she participated in the 1967 March on Washington.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by four daughters, Cathy Tabela-Sailor of Florida, Pamela Tabela-Baxter of East Providence, Kimberly Tabela-Eastwood of Florida and Julia Baptista-Clement of Providence; two sons, Frank Tabela Jr. of Cumberland and Keith Tabela of Florida; two sisters, Barbara Tomlinson of Providence and Janice Johnson of Florida; and several grandchildren. She was the sister of the late Florinell Smith, Gerald and James Washington.
A Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated March 21 at St. Michael Church. Burial was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Providence.