Leon James Newman, 86, of Foreman, Ark., died Thursday, February 21, 2019, of leukemia.
He was born October 28, 1932. He was a 1953 graduate of Mineral Springs High School and was named the first All-State football player from that school. Upon graduating high school, he joined the United States Army during the Korean War, serving from 1953 to 1955 and was honorably discharged. He was stationed in Baden Baden, American sector, West Germany and was part of a network of soldiers used to courier documents to other American bases in post-WWII Europe. He played catcher on the base’s baseball team that won the championship of Western Europe’s American service bases.
In the late 1950s and early ‘60s he coached Pee Wee football in Fort Worth, Texas, ultimately winning the Pee Wee city league. After moving to Foreman, Ark., he volunteered for the Little League baseball program.
During the early 1970s, he served as Scout Leader of Troop 50 of Boy Scouts of America for five years. He was active in the local Kiwanis Club during this time and twice served as president of the club.
For more than 25 years, Mr. Newman served as chairman of the administrative board of the First United Methodist Church of Foreman. He was one of two key individuals who worked tirelessly for two years to raise funds to design and construct a new church building that was completed in 1976. It is this church where funeral services will be held on Monday.
He served on the Foreman Public Schools’ board of education for 12 years, many of those years as board chairman. He served as Foreman City councilman for four years.
Beginning in June 1964, Mr. Newman began working for Foreman’s Piggly Wiggly supermarket (now Young’s Thriftway) and worked there until retiring in 1997. During his years of retirement, he became an avid gardener and took great pride in the many varieties of vegetables and fruits that he and Patsy eagerly shared with everyone.
He is survived by his wife of almost 61 years, Patsy Ray for almost 61 years; two children, Leon Jay Newman of Dallas, Texas, and his wife, Janna, and Patti Newman Johnston of Arkadelphia, Ark., and her husband, Sidney; three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
Visitation was held Sunday, February 24, 2019, at Madden Funeral Home Chapel in Foreman, Ark.
Funeral services were held Monday, February 25, 2019, at the First United Methodist Church in Foreman, Ark., under the direction of Madden Funeral Home.
Burial was at Bingen-Ozan Cemetery in Nashville, Ark.