Thursday, August 24, 2006
Longtime city clerk dies at age 85
By SUE WATSON
He often said if he ever did anything worthwhile in life, it was at the city clerk’s office.
Funeral services for William “Billy” Wright Newsom, 85, were held Monday at First United Methodist Church in Holly Springs with burial in historic Hill Crest Cemetery.
Newsom served 36 continuous years, from 1957-1993, as Holly Springs city clerk and tax collector.
After retirement and the death of his spouse Jane Graham, Newsom made predictable daily rounds throughout the city, stopping off in the mornings at the city clerk’s office to visit with Sandra Young, Lisa Liddy and Connie Mason and talking with employees who came through the office.
Young worked with Newsom for many years before he retired and then she went on to become city clerk. Newsom came to be her dear friend.
“My entire family has truly lost a good friend,” Young said. “He was a joy to work with and treated everybody with kindness.”
In recent years, he took lunch at Heritage Inn (later J.B.’s restaurant) with friends where he ordered his evening meal before he left.
In recent months, Newsom often spent the morning hours at Granny Walnut’s.
He was always back at home at 1 p.m. to watch his favorite soap opera, Days of Our Lives, according to one of his friends.
Newsom loved to dance and went to every dance he heard about, particularly showing up for dances at the VFW Post 5697.
The VFW Post placed a rose in Newsom’s chair Saturday night.
He was a U.S. Army Veteran of World War II, a member of the VFW, an avid MSU fan, often attending tailgate parties at football games with his family.
He was a major benefactor of the Clydesdale Christmas Store and put much energy into fund-raising so needy families would have gifts at Christmas.
In reading from I Corinthians 13, Rev. Doyle Mitchell said he will remember Newsom for his love.
“That element of love are the words that came to my mind most,” he said. “‘Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Ps. 30:5).’ ”
Mitchell recalled Newsom’s ready smile and laughter, his love for his church, and his work with the Clydesdale Christmas Store.
“Billy got more out of giving and doing than receiving,” he said. “He’s a loving, a caring individual. He’s not even through shaking hands in Heaven, yet. I know he is saying, good to see you and is just dying laughing.”
Newsom lived the good life, and left a legacy of caring, compassion for those less fortunate, Mitchell said.
“Thank you, Father, for a great man, who showed us how to laugh, how to live, how to love and how to give,” Mitchell prayed.
Reading from the Beatitudes of Christ, Rev. Milton Boyd, referred to Newsom as “the salt of the earth”, words spoken by Jesus.
“Those who give their lives in service to others are the salt of the earth,” Boyd said.
In later years, Newsom took care of himself, was always a gentleman, kept up his friendships and lived a good life, Boyd said. He, like salt, was a preserver of the community.
“It is a high compliment to call someone the salt of the earth, and I am doing that for Billy today,” Boyd said. “Nothing can hurt him now, for he is with his Lord Jesus.”
Memorials may be sent to the Clydesdale Christmas Store at 843 Peyton Road, Holly Springs, Miss., 38635, or to the First United Methodist Church.
(662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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