In Memoriam: Gene Newlon, 1967-2017

Gene Newlon headshot

Marietta College lost a valued member of its family on Monday night (May 15, 2017).

Gene “Bird” Newlon died after a farming accident at his home in Lowell. He was 49.

The father of three daughters and grandfather to six began working for the College in the Physical Plant Department in 1997. At the time, his father, John, also worked in the department.

“The Marietta College family is holding the Newlon family close in our prayers,” said President William N. Ruud. “For four generations, the Newlons have been a part of the Marietta family. The impact that his and his family’s work have made on the College cannot be measured.”

Visitation will be at 11 a.m. Friday, May 19th, at McClure-Schafer-Lankford Funeral Home on Fourth Street in Marietta. His funeral will begin at 1 p.m. Friday, following visitation. Newlon was a member of the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department. His family asks that donations be made to support the department in lieu of flowers. The address is 102 Oak Grove Lane, Marietta, Ohio 45750.

Newlon was a skilled tradesperson at the College.

“Bird’s passing is cause to reflect on all the good work he did for the college,” said Fred Smith, Director of Physical Plant. “Being a plumber has to be one of the most difficult jobs. Imagine being the only plumber responsible for providing that service to the College community!”

His coworkers in the Physical Plant plan to make food for the family and their guests on Friday.

Smith said Newlon loved his job and made himself available “24/7 to support our resident students.” He frequently worked a midnight repair shift to avoid disrupting water service to campus.

“And yes, when he snaked a line and found the source of the clog, he was kind enough to leave it on my desk so that I could provide a vivid description to a Community Coordinator on what should or should not go down the drain,” Smith joked. “He was very proud of the changes he lead to improve services and he worked tirelessly on all of our construction projects to make sure we specified quality materials and then followed up to make sure the contractors installed them correctly.”

Smith commended Newlon for being a creative problem solver. Most recently he and coworker, Raymond Baker, designed and fabricated the frames for the safety netting at the softball dugouts. 

“I walk or ride the path between soccer and softball frequently, and know I will gaze over at this work and say a prayer for his family,” Smith said.