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82, of Vero Beach, FL, formerly of Jamestown, RI, passed away peacefully on November 6 surrounded by her loving family. Rena was born December 30, 1940, in Providence, RI, to the late Paul and Theresa (DiVona) Pazienza. She was the beloved wife of the late Randy Tyson for 57 years, who preceded her in death by one short month. She was predeceased by her siblings, Robert and Paula Pazienza. She is survived by her children Kerry Tyson (husband Zack King) of Portsmouth, RI, and Kenneth Tyson (partner Kristin Frederickson) of Boston, MA, her grandchildren Finn and Loie King of Portsmouth, RI, and her sister Lois Pazienza (husband Marc Seifer) of Saunderstown, RI.
Rena grew up in Cranston, RI, and graduated from Cranston High School in 1958. She attended the University of Rhode Island, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Education in 1962, followed by a Masters in guidance and counseling. She was a Delta Zeta sorority and Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society member. Continuing her penchant for dances and ballgowns, which began in high school, Rena was crowned 1958 Aggie Bawl Queen of the fall agricultural formal at URI.
After college, Rena worked in the guidance department at Tollgate High School in Warwick, RI, before meeting the love of her life. They were married in 1966 and moved to Utah, Idaho, and later to Worthington, OH, where she dedicated herself to raising their two children. In 1978, she and her family returned to Rhode Island, settling in Jamestown and she returned to work in education. She later received her Real Estate broker’s license, and she and Randy developed numerous properties and businesses in Jamestown, RI.
A determined woman, Rena was active and engaged in numerous civic and community projects, selling Mary Kay products, hosting bridge nights, joining women’s clubs, and later, with her husband, sailing and traveling with the Jamestown Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club, and the Moorings Yacht & Country Club in Vero Beach, FL. She served on the Jamestown School Committee for twelve years.
In 1988, Rena was involved in a near-fatal automobile accident. Despite the odds, she made an astonishing, if not complete, recovery. Like many who are faced with a life-altering event, there was before the accident and after. However, Rena never once complained about her struggles and rarely asked for help or accommodation. She worked hard to learn to walk again and then to drive and traveled extensively around the world with her late husband and family. Her most proud accomplishment during this time was the art gallery and gift store she started, R&R Gallery in Jamestown. She was a supporter of the arts but even more so of her community and enjoyed her days at the shop greeting customers. She was affectionally known as the “Beanie Baby Lady” to her youngest customers. She delighted in watching their excitement when she received a new shipment of the iconic plush toys, especially when those children were her grandchildren.
Her funeral will be held on Thursday, November 16, 2023. Visiting hours are from 9:30 to 10:30 am at the Nardolillo Funeral Home & Crematory, 1278 Park Avenue, Cranston, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 am in St. Mary’s Church, 1525 Cranston Street, Cranston. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (http://www.mda.org). There will be a celebration of life for friends and family on Thursday, December 7, from 1-3 pm at Beech Restaurant, 13 Narragansett Ave, Jamestown, Rl.