William Monahan, 77, of Adamsville, RI, passed away Tuesday, August 13, 2019. He was the husband of Margo (Cochrane) Monahan.
Born in Newark, NJ, son of the late Christopher F. and Elizabeth (Brennan) Monahan, he had lived in Adamsville for 22 years.
Originally from Wayne, New Jersey, Bill entered Fairleigh Dickinson University on a running scholarship. Midway through school, he volunteered for service in the army during the Vietnam War and was stationed in Germany. When he returned, he continued college while working at his father’s restaurant, Monahan’s. Bill thrived in the energy and confusion of a busy restaurant and turned that enthusiasm into a career. In Rhode Island, he owned and operated the Foster Inn as well as Peaberry’s, a chain of specialty coffee shops. Traveling around Rhode Island, he fell in love with the Sakonnet area, deciding this would be his home. Opening the Four Corners Grille was his foot in the door. The Clipper and Wampanoag sandwiches as well as the Captain Gray and Fogland burgers came about through his study of local history and his imaginative flare.
Later in life, Bill’s focus turned to community involvement. He took on the role of executive director of the Cookie Place in Providence which employs people with mental illness. Also, being an avid reader, volunteering at the Little Compton Library was a perfect fit. Whether it was fixing a screen on the front door, helping out with the tent out back or just covering books, he was there to lend a hand. As a volunteer classroom assistant in Tiverton, he especially enjoyed the years he spent in Mrs. Priestner’s third grade at the Pocasset School. One little girl wrote, “Mr. Monahan is very special. He is funny and very smart, a celebrity in our classroom. Everybody wants to work with him. He teaches us cool stuff. He’s never mean. Mr. Monahan is the nicest man on earth. We want him to stay forever. He’s in our heart forever”.
As a member of the Budget Committee, he was always there to support his fellow members who he greatly admired. In his role on the Board of Tax Assessors, Bill appreciated being an elected official in the town that he loved. He relished jumping in the car, assessing all the nooks and crannies of the town and charming all the residents who came into the office. He especially enjoyed working with Denise Cosgrove, the present assessor, who kept everything in order and listened to his jokes.
It is ironic that Bill lost his ability to communicate during his long illness. He was great storyteller, though a bit long winded in the Irish tradition. Bill never hesitated to exaggerate the truth to entertain his audience. He had a keen interest in history as well as current events and loved a good argument. Seeking out new places and adventure was always a priority. He particularly enjoyed canal boating in Ireland and France. No Viking tours, just Bill and Margo floating lazily along, exploring the countryside, buying food locally and cooking on the boat or having a pint in a pub while playing a game of cribbage. “Just grand”, Bill would say. Most of all, Bill enjoyed his home. Sitting in his chair with a book and a drink or dashing around the yard on his John Deere, he couldn’t have been happier.
Bill is survived by his wife Margo; his brother Christopher and his wife Mary Ann of Los Altos Hills, CA; his brother Kevin and his wife Sue of Jacksonville, FLA; and his daughter Jackie of Los Angeles, CA.
Many thanks to the friends and neighbors who always made him feel special during his long illness. Thanks also to the staff and residents of the Rhode Island Veterans Home who helped him immensely and always responded to him with a wave or a thumbs up, especially Cottage C which became his community in every sense of the word.
In memory of Bill, please support your local library and take the time to read a book to a special child in your life.
Private services will be held at the convenience of the family.
THE PARTING GLASS
Of all the money that ere I had, I spent it in good company.
And of all the harm that ere I've done, alas was done to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit, to memory now I cannot recall.
So fill me to the parting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all.
Of all the comrades that ere I had, they're sorry for my going away,
And of all the sweethearts that ere I had , they wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise while you should not,
I will gently rise and I'll softly call, "Goodnight and joy be with you all!"