Chief Master Sergeant Stephen Parente, 73, of East Matunuck, South Kingstown, passed away on September 28, 2019 surrounded by his family. He was the husband of Elaine A. (Vacca) Parente.
Born in Providence on October 26, 1945, he was the son of the late Gino and Catherine (Maguire) Parente. Stephen graduated from Cranston High School West in 1963. He furthered his education in 1985, when he earned an associate’s degree in applied science (aircraft maintenance technology) from the Community College of the Air Force while accumulating 93 semester hours. He joined the Air Force in 1963 and completed basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas. In 1965, he was reassigned to Kadena AFB, Okinawa with temporary duty assignments to Danang and Tan Sanute Air Force Bases in the Republic of Vietnam. He was discharged from active service in September 1967. Stephen joined the 143d Airlift Wing (RIANG) in 1969 and served as Crew Chief of the Unit’s HU-16 aircraft. He accepted a full-time military technician position (US Civil Service) in 1970, serving as Crew Chief of the HU-16 and later on the C-119L. In 1973 he was reassigned to the 143rd Tactical Airlift Squadron, where he served as Flight Mechanic on the C-119L. In 1975 he was assigned (as part of the initial cadre) as Flight Engineer on the unit’s newly assigned C-130A aircraft.
In 1999 Stephen retired as a full-time military technician but remained in the unit as a traditional guardsman. He attained the highest enlisted military rank of Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) in August 2003. During his career in the RIANG, Stephen participated in numerous worldwide contingencies and deployments, including Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In his civilian occupation Mr. Parente was owner and president of E.S.P. Ocean Enterprise, Inc. and was vice president of the Rhode Island Commercial Rod and Reel Anglers Association. He was a lifelong saltwater fisherman, becoming commercially licensed in 1998. He became actively involved in numerous and varied marine fishery issues since that time. He was also experienced in commercial lobster and shell-fishing operations.
Besides his wife Stephen is survived by his sister, Constance Daniels; his in-laws, Luigi Vacca, Dorothy Dowling, Anthony Vacca, Sandra Vacca and Robert Burgess; and many nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Mary Lena Burgess and brother-in-law of the late Angela Antonelli and Domenic Vacca.
His funeral was held on October 3, 2019. Burial with military honors followed in St. Francis Cemetery, Pawtucket.