NBC 10 revisits interview with Nuala Pell - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

NBC 10 revisits interview with Nuala Pell

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Nuala Pell sat down for an extended interview with NBC 10 in November 2013. Nuala Pell sat down for an extended interview with NBC 10 in November 2013.

Mrs. Claiborne Pell was an advocate for the arts, humanitarian service and education.

By her husband's side for more than 30 years, campaign through campaign, she represented Rhode Island in Washington as her husband served in the U.S. Senate.

Nuala Pell died Sunday at the age of 89. Her funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport.

Mrs. Pell graciously welcomed NBC 10 into her Newport home in November for a sit-down interview on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. She was more than patient to go through her scrapbooks, picture by picture, to tell her family's story.

Part of that story was about how they spent summers in Newport with the Kennedys.

"Since they spent time up here every summer we saw quite a bit of them," Mrs. Pell recounted.

JFK was a friend of the Pells, and he famously told Mrs. Pell's husband that he was "the most unelectable man in America.'' Mrs. Pell joked about that as she found the old headlines from papers in her books.

Mrs. Pell was also close with Hugh Auchincloss, President Kennedy's brother-in-law and also a Newport resident.

She talked about how JFK's assassination affected her, her husband and the country.

"Here was a guy roughly our age, and we looked forward to all the promise we thought he brought," she said at the time. "I think Washington changed almost immediately after Kennedy was killed."

Mrs. Pell said she lost faith in the country.

"I thought if people could be shot like that, Martin Luther King, and I didn't realize it was going to go on and Bobby would be shot, too. I wondered what had happened to this country -- why we had gotten so violent all of a sudden," Mrs. Pell said.

Through the years and with future presidents, the Pells remained engaged in public service. Now her grandson, Clay Pell, is running for governor of Rhode Island.

She was at his campaign kickoff in January.

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