Elwood Newborn was born on New Year’s Eve, 1929 in “Lick Skillet” a suburb of the Witherspoon Community, as he would jokingly recall. His parents were Jesse Paul Newborn and Joe Willie Hill. He grew up hunting, fishing and living from the land.
Elwood was taught as young man the value of hard work and that a “good name” would carry him a long way in life. His very first job was working with his father who had a contract with SWB cutting right-a-way’s for utility poles. He attended AM&N College now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff under the GI Plan.
In 1946, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the United State Army and completed his basic training at Fort Lee, Virginia. He worked as a local truck driver for Guthrie’s, worked 15 years as a truck driver for KRX Truck Line which was the Kroger Refrigerated Express. He retired from the City of Arkadelphia Public Works Department after 24 years. He modeled a strong work ethic and commitment. He spent countless days keeping the “young ‘ens’ in line on the job and dubbed the name “Pop”.
In 1948, at the parsonage of St. Paul AME Church, Rev. Shelton proclaimed Elwood Newborn and Gerrien Willis as husband and wife. To this happy union eight children were born. After 49 years of love, sacrifice, and raising a beautiful family his beloved wife passed into the Lord’s embrace on September 25, 1997.
Although Elwood was not a member of Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church at that time, he attended bible study there on a consistent basis; hardly ever missing a Wednesday. He finally united with Greater Pleasant Hill in 1978 during the pastorate of Rev. W. T. Keaton and shortly thereafter was voted as a trustee. He also served as a member of the finance committee. He would often reminisce about the day he joined being the greatest day of his mother’s life, who had served as an Usher at Greater Pleasant Hill for over 50 years.
He loved his church, attending bible study and church services on a regualr basis. He was honored as member of the month in January 2005. His fondest memory of Greater Pleasant Hill was moving into the new sanctuary. His favorite scripture was Psalm 23 and his favorite song was “Go On My Child“.
On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Elwood slept into the Lord’s embrace. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse P. Newborn and Joe Willie Scott; his beloved wife, Gerrien Newborn; three children, Rickey Newborn (1958), James “Spike” Newborn (1972) and Joe Charles “Ike” Newborn (2006) and one sister, Margarine Norris.
He leaves fond memories in the hearts of his children: Roy Lee Luster of Malvern, AR, Michael (Darlene) Newborn of Arkadelphia, AR, Rennea Newborn of Hot Springs, AR, Margaret Britt of Ashdown, AR, Vickie (Lynn) Blue of Kansas City, MO, Gloria Newborn of Hot Springs, AR, and Emmett Newborn of Hot Springs, AR; a grandson raised in the home, Ricky L. Newborn of Detroit, MI; a daughter-in-law, Claretta Newborn of Arkadelphia, AR; one brother, Jesse Paul (Patsy) Newborn of San Antonio, TX; and one aunt Maude S. Hill of Malvern, AR. He also leaves nineteen grandchildren twenty-one great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and the Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church family.
Services will be held at 11 am on Saturday, April 5th at Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Dr. Lewis A. Shepherd, Jr., will officiate. Mr. Newborn will lie in repose at the church one hour prior to service time. Interment in Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
Public visitation will be held Friday, April 4th from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the funeral home.