2014-02-06 / Obituaries

Donald Joseph Dupre

Donald Joseph Dupre, of Jamestown, R.I., passed away peacefully on Jan. 24, 2014, at 88, at St. Clare Home surrounded by family.

He was born on Jan. 17, 1926, in Woonsocket, R.I., to Myron and Pauline Trask Dupre. Soon afterward he was raised and nurtured by Pauline and Eric Broad.

In childhood he was active in the YMCA and the Boy Scouts of America. His passion was the outdoors.

At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy to defend his country in World War II. He served as quartermaster on the minesweeper USS Pioneer. While on convoy duty in the Mediterranean, in 1943, the troopship HMT Rohna was hit by a German radio-guided rocket-propelled missile, and was sinking fast. The USS Pioneer rescued 606 men, yet, 1,015 American soldiers were lost in this tragedy. The actual facts of the sinking of the HMT Rohna became a top wartime secret held by the U.S. Navy for 24 years. In 1967, the government allowed the families to finally learn the details of what had happened to their kin. This had a memorably emotional effect on all involved. The USS Pioneer also provided minesweeping duties prior to the assault on Anzio beach in Italy, and was the second American ship to sail into Tokyo Bay on Aug. 28, 1943.

After the war, Don worked for New England Telephone & Telegraph in Rhode Island, then transferred to Boise, Idaho, as a lineman for Mountain States Tel & Tel. He later returned to Jamestown to raise his family.

With his wife Adele Moberg Dupre, he had three sons, Michael of Jamestown; Scott and his wife Linda of Westerly, R.I.; and the late Donald Jay. In 1970, Don married Harriet Anderson Walsh, which enlarged his family to include the predeceased Raymond Walsh Jr. of Jamestown, and surviving children Michael Walsh and Danette of Newport, and Leo Walsh and Ann of Riverside, R.I.

His grandchildren are Monique Dupre of Fall River, Mass., Jillian Dupre Carmichael of Enosburg Falls, Vt., Raymond Walsh III of Jacksonville, Fla., Mary Walsh Mack of Tiverton, Timothy Walsh of Newport, Kimberly Walsh Ramos of East Providence, Patrick Walsh of North Kingstown, Stephanie Cordeiro of Riverside, and Michael Cordeiro of Warwick.

Don Dupre was a past president of the Jamestown Town Council, volunteer for the Jamestown Fire Department, on the board of the Jamestown Bridge Commission, and a scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 1. He was a member of the Washington Chapter Masonic Lodge, Mount Vernon Lodge, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Newport Elks, Green Bridge Sportsman’s Club, Conanincut Island Land Trust, the Preservation Society of Newport County, and the board of directors of the Rohna Memorial Association for the past 15 years.

When Don retired after 35 years with the phone company, his one and only employer, he traveled with his wife over the United States and spent some time in Mexico assisting in building schools in small villages near Taxco, and making sure the children had enough necessary supplies. He was generous to those in need.

Donald Dupre was known as “Duke” to many, “Poppa Don” to his grandchildren, a hero in battle and a loyal and generous friend to all who knew him.

The family wishes to extend thanks to the caring staff at the St. Clare Home and his recent caregiver Eileen Allard.

There will be a gathering to celebrate his long and fulfilling life at a time and date to be announced.

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