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February 26, 1947 ~ January 19, 2024 (age 76) 76 Years Old
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Emanuel Labão da Ponte, favorably known as “Nel”, 76, passed away in his home in Bristol, RI after a progressive illness on January 19, 2024. He was born in the village of Pico da Pedra, São Miguel, Açores and is the first child of Guillermo and Leontina Tavares Labão da Ponte with brothers, Jorge and José da Ponte.
In his youth, Nel travelled by bicycle to the capitol city of Ponta Delgada to work at a toy store by day and attend secondary education, 5º ano, by night. Soon after, he was drafted to Angola and Mozambique to fight in the Portuguese African Colonial Wars.
In 1971, Nel legally immigrated to the United States with his bride, Maria Irene Faria da Estrella Ponte, in an unfamiliar place and unfamiliar country, to live out the American Dream. He successfully overcame such challenges with limited resources and a significant language and cultural barrier.
Nel worked, along with his wife, at what is now known as Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Bristol, RI. Here, he built a 36-year career in Manufacturing, retiring as a Machinist.
As a true Bristolian for over a half century, he was an active member of the Dom Luiz Filipe Portuguese Beneficial Association, Escola Oficial Portuguesa, and Saint Elizabeth Catholic Parish’s Irmandade Unida Espirito Santo and Santissima Trindade Committee.
Nel was a lover of Philharmonic Marching music and a member of the Banda Nossa Senhora da Luz Portuguese Band for over 50 years, where both his son and grandson currently perform.
He enjoyed the simple things: a cold beer at Bristol Sports Club watching his favorite soccer team, Benfica; a caçoila sandwich during a Filarmônica de Santa Isabel performance; and even more, beating everyone at a game of Dominos.
He is survived by his wife Irene, brother José, son Philip, grandson Preston, and granddaughter Kinga.
Calling hours will be held Tuesday, January 23rd, 9 – 10:30 AM from the George C. Lima Funeral Home, 367 High Street, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial, 11 AM at St. Elizabeth’s Church, 577 Wood Street. Burial will follow in North Burial Ground.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in loving memory of Nel’s honor to Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, Hospice Fund, 1184 East Main Road, Portsmouth RI, 02871.