Donald E. Newman, 73, of Indianapolis, and longtime resident of Shelbyville, died unexpectedly at 10:55 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, at Community South Hospital in Indianapolis.
Newman was born Dec. 17, 1942, in Dearborn, Michigan, to parents Homer Newman and Stephanie (Rokosz).
Survivors include his wife of 16 years, Barbara Jean Fairchild-Newman (Harrell) and his ex-wife of 25 years, Karen Newman (Corbett). His children are Mark Newman and wife Gina (Slaven) of Shelbyville, Malinda Kuhn (Newman) and her husband Ben of North Carolina; stepdaughter, Pamela Fairchild Clark (Fairchild) and her husband Cody of Greenwood; stepson, Joseph Fairchild of Indianapolis; and four grandchildren, Sophia, Grant, Camdyn and Heidi. He is also survived by his beloved dogs, Lucy and Charlie.
Newman graduated from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan. He attended Henry Ford Community College, received a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University and a Master of Arts from Central Michigan University.
Newman worked as an engineer throughout his career, which included 20 years for Ford Motor Co. At the time of his death, he was working as a project engineer at Toyota Boshoku Indiana in Princeton, Indiana.
Newman served in the U.S. Army in Korea during the Vietnam War and is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Newman was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where he served as junior and senior warden. He was also a member of several engineering organizations. Newman spent countless hours volunteering for Shelby County Players as an actor, backstage worker and set designer and builder. He met his wife, BJ, during his first acting stint at Shelby Community Theatre in a production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Newman enjoyed his family and his dogs. His goal was often to seek peace and quiet, and his favorite place was his waterfront cabin on Rifle Lake in Lupton, Michigan. He spent his time there fishing, boating, jet skiing and just sitting on his deck to watch the water or catch a nap.
Newman often talked about making plans for road trip vacations. He wanted to visit the Grand Canyon and drive the length of Route 66, and he always wanted to take a scenic train trip.
His favorite vacations were a trip to Hawaii, where he surfed for the first and last time, and an Alaskan cruise where he was awed by the scenery and enjoyed the company of his best friends, Ross Medos and his wife, Sandy, and Ron Byron and his wife, Gail. Newman also enjoyed trips to Venice Beach in Florida, where he spent hours searching for sharks’ teeth in the sand.
Newman was often a man of few words, but he enjoyed springing corny jokes on the unsuspecting, and he loved to tell long, meandering stories to a captive audience.
His family recalls that he obtained great satisfaction from helping people, and he seldom turned down a request for assistance. He considered it a goal in life to make his loved ones happy, often at the expense of activities that he might have preferred.
Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Freeman Family Funeral Home, Carmony Ewing Chapel, 819 S. Harrison St., Shelbyville. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. March 26 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1201 N. Riley Highway, Shelbyville.
Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be directed to the American Heart Association, in care of the funeral home.