WARWICK — James Patrick Petrone, the light of his mother’s world, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, July 4, 2022 after battling cancer on and off for decades. Born on July 11, 1970, Jamie lived a full and rich life despite his challenging cerebral palsy diagnosis; he was born a non-verbal spastic quadriplegic. Jim’s bravery, strong will to survive, and his deep care and concern for his family, friends, housemates and caregivers was evident every day of his 51 years. He loved life!
Throughout his life, Jamie faced many physical challenges, including numerous orthopedic surgeries and long recoveries early in his life. He survived a collapsed lung later in life, and coped with recurrent bladder cancer for almost 30 years — all with great courage and grace.
With the support, encouragement and expertise of many extraordinary people, Jim was able to live an extraordinary life. Those people making a huge impact included: Jamie’s parents, Helene and Richard who were his forever champions no matter what the challenge; his three siblings (and later their spouses and children too).
Along with serving on various advisory boards as an advocate for the rights of the disabled, Jim often “spoke” as a guest lecturer through the years at CCRI, Brown University, and University of Rhode Island to communication and technology students as Jim was a pioneer in the use of the Bliss Symbol Word Board, electronic Dynovox talking/voice computer and other specialized communication devices that literally gave him an actual “voice” to express himself. Jim also had a very cool electric wheelchair that he could drive himself — he was able to get around his various jobs and participate in his very active social life.
Jim was a volunteer at the Warwick Police Department, Cranston Police Department and Meeting Street School for many years.
Predeceased by his beloved father, Richard L. Petrone Sr., Jamie leaves behind his loved and devoted mother and BFF, Helene V. Petrone; and his siblings Laura H. Testa (David), communications manager for the Diocese of Providence; Richard L. Petrone Jr. (Francine); and Melissa A. Frost; as well as his seven nieces, Julia Testa, Rachel Petrone, Georgia Testa, Madeleine Frost, Hannah Petrone, Abigail Testa (Uncle Jim’s email pen pal), and Charlotte Frost. Jamie’s family would like to deeply and sincerely thank Dr. Mary Eleanor Toms and the staff of Hope Hospice as they cared for Jamie, mind, body, and spirit, in his final days.
A funeral service was held Thursday, July 7 in the Thomas & Walter Quinn Funeral Chapel, Warwick.