Obituary of William S. "Billy" Newman
William S. Newman (best known as Billy) was born on September 5, 1951 to Evelyn Stafford Newman and William Oliver Newman. He was a life-long resident of Oak Ridge, North Carolina, who still occupied the same home built by his grandparents in 1919.
The family will greet friends from 1:00PM to 3:00PM Saturday January 11, 2020 at Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Services, Kernersville, NC. Masonic Graveside Rites will follow at 4:00PM at Oak Ridge United Methodist Church Cemetery.
He received his high school education at Oak Ridge Military Institute (ORMI) graduating in 1970, before attending college at North Carolina State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science in 1974.
Billy dedicated his energies to the Oak Ridge Fire Department for much of his adult life. He served in a variety of capacities starting in 1971, serving as Fire Chief from 1994 until 2009 for a total of 38 years. In the words of personnel at the ORFD, “he saw the department through extensive growth in the Oak Ridge community and fire service”. The design and construction of the modern Fire Station #15 and the expansion of the department to construct a second Fire Station #51 took place under his leadership as Oak Ridge Fire Chief.
In April 2011, Billy was appointed to the 18th Judicial District of the State of North Carolina as a Magistrate assigned to the Guilford County Courthouse in High Point, NC. He was still serving in that capacity at the time of his death.
He was a 19 year member of Masonic Lodge #428 located in Stokesdale, NC where he served as Master of the Lodge in 2006 and again in 2008. He took pride in being a part of the Lodge and recruited several new members to the worthwhile organization.
Billy was a hands-on co-owner of a small cattle operation. Although he worked with the cattle, his love was for horses. He owned a beloved quarter horse “ Brother” for many years and enjoyed organized Trail Rides with his friend Drew Donnell He also raised Percheron draft horses at one time. His affinity for horses was also evidenced by his commitment to the annual Oak Ridge Horse Show established in 1945. Billy’s dad was one of the founding members. It was a top-rated community event for more than 60 years. Billy served in various roles from Ring Master to Vice-Chairman.
He took great pleasure in watching the stock car races at Bowman Gray Stadium with his buddies. Billy also enjoyed hunting with his friends and his Labrador Retrievers, Careless, Zeb, and Pete. He became a licensed airplane pilot and flew cargo commercially for a short period. During his pilot training and subsequent cargo carrier flights along the east coast, he told of some entertaining adventures! He had a gift for making every story a treat for his listener. He will certainly be remembered as an extraordinary story-teller!! He was a fun Bridge partner, too.
Another of his accomplishments to be noted would have to be the enormous amount of pork Bar-B-Que that he prepared for charitable fund-raising causes. Thanks to the addition of the closely guarded secret BBQ sauce recipe from Leo Phelps, Billy’s efforts were rewarded with great sales.
Billy Newman was a man who loved Oak Ridge, ORFD, his friends and his family. People who knew him repeatedly said, “there was nothing fake about Billy. You knew where you stood with him.” He was a big guy with a big personality, a big grin, and a big heart, who will be missed beyond measure by his family and friends as we mourn his passing.
He was preceded in death by his parents. Left to cherish his memory are his sister, Dana and husband Steve Sigmon of Okmulgee, OK; nieces, Sonja Lewis (David) of Statesville, NC, and Tara Griggs (Kelly) of Edmond, OK; nephew, Nathan Sigmon (Nicole) of Broken Arrow, OK; 6 six great nieces and nephews; and one special 1st cousin, Donna Mokscycski of South Salem, NY.
Friends and family may view, and sign the guestbook at www.PierceJeffersonFuneralService.com
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Oak Ridge Fire Department, 8325 Linville Rd., Oak Ridge, NC 27310 or to Masonic Lodge #428, 8420 Ellisboro Rd., Stokesdale, NC 27357.