Barbara V. Primeau


NORTH PROVIDENCE — Barbara Jean (Vernile) Primeau, 75, of Meadow View Blvd., North Providence, completed her earthly journey on October 28, 2021. She was the beloved wife of 43 years of John R. Primeau, whom she met on a retreat at Holy Family Monastery in Farmington, Connecticut.
She was the devoted mother of their beloved children, James R. Primeau, Katherine Messier and Anne White (Steven), as well as the cherished grandmother of Dylan and Leah Messier and Gabriel and Julian White. She was also the sister of Robert C. Vernile and his wife Cynthia (Oro Valley, Arizona) and William F. Vernile and his wife Sandra (West Hartford, Connecticut). She also leaves beloved cousins, godchildren, nieces and nephews, and cherished friends too numerous to single out.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Barbara was the daughter of her awesome parents, the late Rocco F. and Marion (Sullivan) Vernile.
She graduated from Mount St. Joseph Academy in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1964. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, in 1968. In 1973, she earned her master’s degree from the UConn School of Social Work. Over the course of her career as a clinical social worker, she worked at the Hartford Department of Social Services and Catholic Family Services in Hartford, Connecticut; United Child & Family Services in New London, Connecticut; and the Diocese of Providence’s Catholic Social Services.
Barbara served as the vice president and director of North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation Inc. (NACEPF) for 32 years. She worked with a team, including Sandy Mergen and Donna O’Lobri, to produce 165 programs in the series “Women in the Church Today.”
She was deeply involved in the organization’s ministry work, and she championed many philanthropic projects including building schools, providing healthcare, and feeding children in some of the poorest areas of the world.
Barbara was a volunteer at St. Edward’s Food & Wellness Center and Holy Family Home in Providence, as well as a Eucharistic Minister at Fatima Hospital in North Providence.
She was also a daily Mass participant and communicant of St. Augustine Church in Providence. She co-founded a “Moms in Touch” prayer group with Leslie Hunt at St. Augustine School and “Moms in Prayer” group with Joan Degaitas at La Salle Academy. Barbara was a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Nov. 5 at 11 a.m. in St. Augustine Church, 639 Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Providence. Graveside burial to follow in Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Barbara’s memory to Mother of Life Pregnancy Center (, RI Right to Life (, or Holy Family Home (