Hilda Viveiros Donofrio, chairwoman of Full Channel, Inc. and widow of the late John Donofrio, Jr., died early Saturday in Florida at the age of 87. Together, the Donofrios were pioneers of cable television in Rhode Island.
Mrs. Donofrio was born in 1927 to Luis and Emelia Viveiros at her family’s home on South Broadway in East Providence, R.I. She was the youngest of seven children. In 1944 at the age of 17, she married John, weeks before he reported for service in the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II.
The Donofrios incorporated Full Channel in 1965. The company was granted preliminary approval to build a cable television system by the City of East Providence, however it took 17 years of navigating the regulatory process before state officials granted final approval for Full Channel to construct a cable system, moving its service area to Bristol County, R.I. in 1982. Since then, the Donofrios’ company has remained the only independent broadband provider in Rhode Island, adding high-speed Internet and telephone services to its network in the 2000s.
“My mom was a strong lady,” said Linda Jane Maaia, president and CEO of Full Channel and Mrs. Donofrio’s eldest daughter. “It didn’t matter the hurdles, from family, health to business, she tackled them all with quiet determination.”
Assuming the position of chairwoman of Full Channel in 2004, Mrs. Donofrio carried on her husband's dream of providing telecommunications to Rhode Island’s East Bay. Champions of fine music and the arts, the Donofrios supported classical music throughout New England, a tradition that the family carries on through Full Channel’s continued sponsorships of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School and Bristol Concerts on the Commons.
Mrs. Donofrio is survived by her three daughters, Linda Jane Maaia, Rosemary L. Pacheco and Valerie J. Daniels, as well as by four grandsons.