Pamela "Pam" Gruttadauria

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  • "So many fond memories of Pam! Always smiling, always eager..."
    - Joanne Hetherman-Bianco
  • "You will always be that little 2yo girl sitting on the rock..."
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  • "Remembering a young girl from back in the day at Johnston..."
    - Jennifer
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Pamela Gruttadauria, 33: Hospitality was her hallmark

Pam grew up in Johnston, graduating from Johnston High School in 1987, and later the Sawyer School, where she studied hospitality.

She often spoke of how much she loved her job at the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, doing food and beverage purchasing, as well as daily breakfast setup for between 100 and 150 guests. She was promoted to that job after serving as front desk supervisor. She twice won the hotel's coveted "Quality Champion of the Month" award.

Jim Petrone, the hotel's general manager, said that Pam had the perfect disposition for hotel work, and a promising future.

"We truly lost a remarkable person," Petrone said, adding that many at the hotel were in tears at the news of her death.

Three and a half years ago, Pam moved back in with her parents, into the same Johnston home where she grew up. She brought JD, her rotweiller-German shepherd mix with her, referred to by her parents as their "grand-dog." She said she hoped to save enough to buy a house of her own.

Pam had two nephews and a niece, whom she doted on. She took Samantha and Austin Gruttadauria, her niece and older nephew, to karate every Wednesday night, and often spent parts of weekends with them. Others said that at gatherings, Pam was the adult who would most likely be on the floor playing with the kids.

As a child, her parents said, Pam was strong-willed, full of energy, and a good athlete who played youth softball through age 15. Her mom and dad attended every one of her games.

Anna Gruttadauria said her daughter wasn't the nightclub type, and would often go to bed early since she had to be at the hotel by 5:30 a.m. for breakfast setup.

She preferred a much different kind of music than that offered by Great White, the metal band that played at The Station the night of the fire. One of Pam's favorite singers was Barbra Streisand.

Her mother said she went to the concert only because her friend Donna Mitchell, a reservationist at the Holiday Inn, said she was going with a few others, and asked Pam to come along.

Pam was standing near the band with Donna Mitchell, and some of Donna's friends, when the fire began. The group began to move toward the nearby back exit, but Pam's mom said a bouncer reportedly told them it was reserved for the band. Donna Mitchell, 29, died in the fire.

"She was a very happy-go-lucky girl, a real homebody," her mother said yesterday. "Very full of energy. Just a good person. Her whole focus was her family, and she just loved her niece and nephew. That's what she lived for, to be with her family."

-- Mark Patinkin, Providence Journal staff

Published in The Providence Journal on Mar. 20, 2003
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