A memorial service is set for 11 am on Saturday at First Baptist Church of Gadsden for Dr. Lucien Newman Jr., surgeon at Gadsden for more than half a century and a man beloved by friends, colleagues and patients.
Newman, 85, who was described by longtime friend Larry Foreman as a “giant man in every way,” died Wednesday at his home.
He practiced in Gadsden for 52 years, from 1968 until his retirement in 2020, but left his mark on the community in other ways.
Newman founded and taught in the EMS/Paramedic program at Gadsden State Community College, and has trained many first responders. The school’s annual award given to the program’s outstanding student is named after him.
He also served as chief of staff at both local hospitals, Gadsden Regional Medical Center and Riverview Regional Medical Center; was a patron/patron of the arts and outdoor groups; He was an early supporter of Westminster (now Westbrook) Christian School, whose three children and four grandchildren attended the school.
“Dr. Denton Park, CEO of Gadsden Regional, said, “Newman has well treated over 50,000 patients in his service to our community over the course of his career. Countless members of our staff and patients have felt his care, compassion, and kindness.
Park said, “We will remember him for his exceptional personality, warm kindness, and exceptional medical skills among other things. What an incredible man he was, and what a wonderful legacy he left behind.”
The Mayor of Gadsden, Craig Ford, said, “Lucian was a pillar of our community and a wonderful friend to all who knew him, including myself. In many ways I took him as a role model, for he was a prince of a gentleman. I know he will be sorely missed.”
Local urologist Dr. John Pirani, GRMC’s chief medical officer, said Newman was “a role model for many of today’s surgeons,” and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Butch Douthet said he modeled his practice on Newman’s.
“He was the first doctor I met when I came to town,” Duthette said. “He was a great doctor who always looked after his patients. He was loved by everyone and was well known in the community.”
Foreman said, “Every patient I spoke to spoke about how gentle, kind, and caring he was in every aspect, not just their physical attitudes.”
A friend of Mary John Wilson recalled a conversation with former Gadsden Times editor Howell Talley shortly after she moved to Gadsden. He shared something I always remembered. Howell was a friend of a doctor who trained Lucien during his stay. He quoted that doctor, speaking of Dr. Newman’s surgical skills, “Lucian does it almost as perfectly as it can be done.”
“A few years later, I myself faced a very serious surgery,” she recalls, “a member of the pre-operative team assured me,” Dr. Newman’s patients always do well. ”
The son of a doctor, Newman was a native of Dadeville, where his first love was showing and judging the cows from his family’s farm. Fuhrman said he still enjoys “tractor rides” on his own ranch.
He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in high school (later serving on the board of directors for the Choccolocco Council of the Boy Scouts of America), played trumpet in the high school band, often played taps at funerals, and, according to his funeral list, friends with “Reveille” blasts. Early in the morning.
Newman attended the University of Alabama, graduating with honors (including Alpha Omega Alpha membership) in 1961 from the College of Medicine. After completing his training at University Hospital (now UAB) and surgical residencies at University and Veterans Hospitals, he spent two years in the Public Health Service as Chief Surgeon and Service Unit Director at Indian Hospital in Claremont, Oklahoma.
Professionally, he was a Fellow and President of the Alabama Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and served as President of the Caduceus Club, the University of Alabama College of Medicine alumni service organization. He was a member of the medical board for ProAssurance (a physician’s liability insurance company) and medical director for Life of Alabama.
The Gadsden & Etowah County Chamber honored Newman in 2002 with its Bobby Austin Community Impact Award, presented to an “outstanding community member who has made a difference”.
Newman was a member of the board and chair of the board at Westminster/Westbrook, and served on the school board and as a sports team physician.
“The Newman family was part of Westminster in the early years,” said Fuhrmann, a former principal and still a teacher at the school. “We developed a friendship with Dr. Newman and Jane that lasted all these years. He was generous, kind, and supportive of activities around the school.”
Wilson, the school’s original high school principal, said, “… I can honestly say, the Newmans have been integral to (Westminster/Westbrook’s) success. In every aspect of its development, they have been there—not only with expertise and encouragement, but also With time and hard work.
“They were always willing to open their homes and share their resources,” she said. I remember that as soon as the need for money for a particular cause arose, the Newmans offered to host a fundraising dinner for the whole school. There were no more generous hosts; on a very rainy night hundreds of people enjoyed their hospitality.
“Our community has lost an amazing community,” Wilson said.
Newman was survived by his wife of 65 years, Jane Leatherbury Newman, and their children, Jane Newman Williams, Lucien Newman III, and Charles Newman, all of whom continued the family tradition as physicians. He was also survived by seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
The visitation was scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturdays in the church where he was an active member and deacon. “He was there every Sunday unless he was in surgery or out of town,” said Fuhrmann, who will conduct the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to Westbrook Christian School or the Gadsden Fire Department’s EMS programme.