Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 1, 2015

Washington Responds to Passing of Nuala Pell, Widow of Former Rhode Island Senator

Nuala Pell, widow of former Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell, passed away Sunday morning in Newport at age 89.

“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,” grandson Clay Pell said in a statement posted by Providence TV station WPRI. “We could not have asked for a better parent or grandparent than Mimi. We will love and miss her more than words can express.”

The younger Pell is running for governor of Rhode Island. His grandfather, the former senator and namesake of the landmark college aid program, died on New Year’s Day in 2009.

Nuala Pell was praised by many for her political involvement and commitment to issues like the arts and education.

She was raised a member of high society, an heiress of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company and described by Rhode Island Public Radio as, in her youth, “a young woman of great beauty, was raised amid wealth and pedigree in the last days of Anglo empire before World War II.”

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., delivered a eulogy at Sen. Pell’s funeral in 2009, and issued a statement Monday about Nuala Pell’s passing.

“Jill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend, Nuala Pell. She and her husband, Senator Clairborne Pell, were among our closest friends. They embraced me in my earliest days in the Senate, after I had lost my wife and daughter. I spent many memorable evenings in their company, and through all the years we served together, I always knew I had a welcome home in Washington with the Pells,” Biden said.

“Nuala and Claiborne worked side by side on every issue, whether it was on behalf of the elderly, or women’s health care, or the arts and humanities, or access to education. After Claiborne passed, Nuala continued her lifetime of service, creating the Nuala Pell Leadership Program in Public Service to give future leaders the skills to enter public service,” added Biden. “Her lifetime of service will live on through the next generation of leaders she helped grow, and in the hearts of her many friends.”

Rhode Island’s top lawmakers echoed that sentiment.

“Nuala Pell worked hard to give others opportunity and she did it with incredible grace, decency, and compassion,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said. “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.”

“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,” said Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee, himself a former senator. “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.”

At the time of his 80th birthday party, the eccentric Claiborne Pell was battling Parkinson’s disease and described in a biography by G. Wayne Miller as often “less than festive.” But Miller quoted from an opinion piece by former Rhode Island Gov. Bruce Sundlun about that evening.

“As his party drew to a close …  Senator Pell walked himself to the fireplace and made a short speech. He thanked everyone for being present, and in particular he thanked Nuala as his wife for 54 years. He said that she was in his dreams practically every night. He acknowledged the love and support she had given him throughout their lives together, and he thanked her for being the most important influence in his life,” Sundlun wrote. “Everybody present realized the emotion with which the senator made his short speech.”

Miller said in the book that Nuala Pell called him after her husband’s death, offering access to his personal records for the biography. Miller also wrote the obituary of Nuala Pell for the Providence Journal.

Comments (13)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Malik Ahsan

    April 15, 2014
    1:30 a.m.

  2. Anonymous

    July 12, 2015
    3:32 p.m.

    Very interesting subject , appreciate it for posting.

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  3. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    5:28 a.m.

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

    http://lowcostautoquotes.com/home-insurance.html

  4. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    1:12 p.m.

    That is the correct blog for anybody who wants to seek out out about this topic. You realize so much its nearly hard to argue with you (not that I truly would want…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just great!

    http://split.us

  5. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    9:54 p.m.

    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your web site in web explorer, would test this… IE still is the marketplace leader and a large section of folks will leave out your magnificent writing due to this problem.

    https://challengepost.com/party66dog

  6. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    7:49 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you?¦ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What an ideal web site.

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  7. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    2:51 p.m.

    naturally like your web site however you need to test the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell the reality then again I will certainly come again again.

    http://slimcelebrity.com

  8. Anonymous

    Aug. 4, 2015
    8:52 a.m.

    mssgwM Rumor- bag Can Have A Main role In Almost Any Organization

  9. Anonymous

    Aug. 4, 2015
    10:05 a.m.

    y3qB72 This blog was how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I ave found something which helped me. Thanks!

  10. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    2:47 p.m.

    Can I just say what a relief to find someone who truly is aware of what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring a difficulty to mild and make it important. Extra people must read this and understand this side of the story. I cant consider youre no more widespread because you positively have the gift.

    http://topcheapinsurance.com/companies-insurance-united-states.html

  11. Anonymous

    Aug. 24, 2015
    3:04 p.m.

    The very crux of your writing while appearing agreeable initially, did not work very well with me personally after some time. Somewhere throughout the paragraphs you actually were able to make me a believer but just for a very short while. I still have a problem with your leaps in assumptions and one would do nicely to fill in those breaks. If you actually can accomplish that, I will undoubtedly be amazed.

    http://quotesautoinsurance.org/primerica-insurance.html

  12. Anonymous

    Aug. 25, 2015
    2:42 p.m.

    Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, appreciate it.

    http://meble-gabinetowe.uchwycone-chwile.pl/stylowe-meble/

  13. Anonymous

    Aug. 29, 2015
    9 p.m.

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is great, as well as the content!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/129336354@N05/20538010888/

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...