RI leaders send condolences for Nuala Pell

Nuala Pell at her grandson Clay Pell's announcement of his candidacy for Governor of Rhode Island, January 28th. (WPRI)
Nuala Pell at her grandson Clay Pell's announcement of his candidacy for Governor of Rhode Island, January 28th. (WPRI)

(WPRI) — Tributes for Nuala Pell, widow of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell and grandmother of gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell, have been pouring in since the announcement of her death at the age of 89.

Clay Pell, grandson & gubernatorial candidate:

“Our entire family is heartbroken by my grandmother’s passing. She dedicated her life to her family and to the service of others. From her work in support of the arts, education, and her humanitarian service, she was a beacon of hope to many. We could not have asked for a better parent or grandparent than Mimi. We will love and miss her more than words can express.”

Gov. Lincoln Chafee:

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Nuala Pell, the devoted wife of Senator Claiborne Pell, a loving mother and grandmother, as well as a well-respected advocate for education, women’s health issues and the arts.

Nuala Pell was ever present on the political campaign trail and her opinion was valued by many. Her passion for scholarship and the humanities led to a decades-long advocacy of public service and philanthropy.

My sincere condolences to the Pell Family as we celebrate the many accomplishments of this remarkably talented and caring woman who has left her mark throughout our state.”

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras:

“Nuala Pell’s contribution to the State of Rhode Island has been immeasurable. She spent more than half a century in public service alongside her husband, the late Senator Claiborne Pell, and was a passionate advocate for the arts, humanities and education – among other noble causes. Her passing is a great loss to our state. I send my heartfelt condolences to Clay, Michelle and the entire Pell family.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin:

“Senator Claiborne Pell was one of the greatest public servants in Rhode Island history, and his wife Nuala has always embodied those same values of selflessness, courage and kindness. I was proud to count the Pells as mentors and friends, and it is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that we say goodbye to Nuala. Her steadfast commitment and service to Rhode Island will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Pell family at this difficult time.”

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse:

“Nuala Pell’s remarkable lifetime of public service left an indelible mark on our state. Alongside her husband, Senator Claiborne Pell, she was a passionate advocate for the arts and humanities and, above all, for the people of our Ocean State. I will always remember her as a cherished friend, and I will miss her deeply. My thoughts and prayers are with the Pell family.”

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed:

“I join with all Rhode Islanders in mourning the loss of an extraordinary woman, Nuala Pell. She had a timeless elegance and charm and was just a beautiful person.

“It was truly an honor to know both Nuala and Claiborne Pell. I will be forever grateful for their enduring friendship, leadership, and devotion to our great state. Together, they touched so many lives and helped so many individuals.

“Nuala Pell worked hard to give others opportunity and she did it with incredible grace, decency, and compassion. A civic leader in her own right, Nuala was a spirited champion of the arts, education, and public service. Her lifetime commitment to service and generous contributions to our community will continue to impact countless lives.

“I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Nuala Pell. Her legacy of kindness, generosity, and working to expand opportunity for others will continue to live on.”

Salve Regina University:

“We are deeply saddened at the loss of our dear friend Nuala Pell who served Salve Regina University faithfully for so many years as a trustee,” said Sister Jane Gerety, the University’s president. “She was a tireless advocate for our students, and through her support of the Pell Center, named for her late-husband Senator Claiborne Pell, connected our students to the world.”

“We had the opportunity to celebrate Nuala’s life last summer when we established a leadership program for our students in her name. Her humility at the thought of an event to honor her stood in sharp contrast to the outpouring of affection for Nuala from far and wide. We know we are not alone in mourning her passing today.”

Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes added: “Mrs. Pell touched lives across Rhode Island with her humanity, her grace, and her spirit of service. The Pell Center is dedicated to carrying on the ideals by which she and her husband lived their lives. We are saddened today, but grateful for all she shared with us in her remarkable life.”

Curt Columbus, Richard L. Bready Artistic Director at Trinity Rep:

“On behalf of Trinity Repertory Company and the local arts community, it is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Nuala Pell. Her passionate advocacy for the arts and education were astounding to all. To say that she was a lovely, and gracious woman is an understatement. Mrs. Pell was a true gem, a stalwart patron of the arts and a true supporter of this state. Mrs. Pell generously served as honorary co-chair of the Pell Awards, held annually at Trinity Rep to honor the late Senator Claiborne Pell and recognize local and regional artistic excellence. Our sincere condolences go out to Clay Pell and his entire family at this sad time.”

President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed:

“I have always admired and respected Mrs. Pell. Senator and Mrs. Pell inspired me to enter public service. She has left an indelible mark on our community in Newport, particularly through her strong support of the arts and education. She devoted her life to giving, both to her family and to her community. She will always be remembered for her generosity and grace. Together, Senator and Mrs. Pell left a legacy that has helped to improve the lives of countless Americans. The thoughts and prayers of all of us in the Senate are with the Pell family as they endure this difficult time.”

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