(Sept. 21, 2006) Former Reno-Sparks
NAACP branch president Benjamin B. Newsome, Sr., died on
Sunday, Sept. 17, at Berryman Rehabilitation Center in Reno. He was
Newsome broke a color barrier as the first African-American counselor
in the Washoe County School District when he was hired at Procter Hug
High School in 1968. He remained there until his 1998 retirement. He
served as president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP from 1989 to 1990 and as
president of the Northern Nevada Joint Council Masonic Order, presiding
over Mason and Eastern Star organizations. The NAACP presented him with
its lifetime achievement award at its annual Freedom Fund Banquet on
Mr. Newsome was a longtime volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, which
constructs entry level housing for families of modest income. He was
a longtime member of the Nevada State Education Association and the
National Education Association.
Benjamin Bob Newsome was born on Feb. 7, 1929, in Brenham, Texas. He
graduated from Prairie View A&M University with a BA in industrial
arts. As a young teacher with the U.S. Job Corps, he was assigned to
the Stewart Indian School in Carson City. He later transferred to Traner
and Clayton middle schools in Reno before his appointment at Hug High.
His survivors include children, Benjamin Newsome, Jr., of Reno,
Bridget Blaylock and Gidget Davis of Las Vegas, Kimberly
Miller of Sacramento, Calif., Andrew Scott of Brenham, nine
grandchildren, a sister, Katherine B. Newsome of Brenham, brothers,
Elbe Newsome, Jr., and Mose Williams, both of Houston,
Texas, and his special friend Alice Nelson of Oakland, Calif.
He was preceded in death
by his parents, Addie Mae and Elbe Newsome, Sr.
Visitation will take place from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22,
at Ross, Burke and Knobel Mortuary, 2155 Kietkze Lane in Reno.
A memorial service will be conducted Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Second
Baptist Church, 1265 Montello St. in Reno. Visitation begins at 9:00
a.m. with the service at 10:00. a.m. conducted by Rev. William C.
Washoe County School District: Lisa Scurry confirmed Mr. Newsome's
status as the district's first African-American counselor.
Ross, Burke and Knobel: Don Manni confirmed the Reno visitation
time and location. The paid obit in the Thursday, 9-21-2006 RGJ was
Orlean Boyer at the Second Baptist Church confirmed Rev. Webb's
officiation at the service.
Information on parents and survivors came from the Reno Gazette-Journal
of 21 Sept. 2006, page 6c.
Other biographical information came from the official program of the
NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch Freedom Fund Banquet program, 6-3-2006.
Berryman Rehabilitation is the new name of the former Physicians Hospital,
currently listed in the SBC white pages at 359-3161.
The above is just the latest example of why journalists rather than
advertising departments should be in charge of obituaries. Had Mrs.
Feemster not taken action, those wanting to pay their respects on Friday
would have been directed to Sparks instead of Reno
because of incorrect information in the family paid obituary. Mourners
would also have been given the wrong time for the Saturday memorial
here to access the correct 9-22-2006 Reno Gazette-Journal story
which resulted from the above press distribution.
campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries