June 9, 1937 – Feb. 5, 2019
Barbara L. Newman enjoyed being outdoors, whether she was on the golf course with her husband, NOCO Energy Corp. co-founder Donald F. Newman, or building trails in the woods with their four sons.
If she wasn't out on the links, Mrs. Newman could be found on the tennis court, said her son, Michael.
"Golf and tennis: She stayed very active. She did like the outdoors quite a bit," he said.
Mrs. Newman, who devoted hours of her time to sitting on boards and volunteering at community organizations, died Tuesday at her home in Clarence following a lengthy illness. She was 81.
The daughter of an Army officer, the former Barbara Lutz was born in Los Angeles but lived in various cities across the United States, as well as in Germany, where she attended high school, and in Puerto Rico, where her father was stationed.
"She was an Army brat. She traveled around quite a bit because her father kept getting re-stationed to different locations," Michael Newman said.
It was the Army that brought his parents together, Michael said. They met at the Watertown Arsenal in Watertown, Mass., where his mother's father, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army colonel, was Donald Newman's commanding officer.
"At the time, my dad was a lieutenant," Michael Newman added.
His parents married in 1957 at the historic Old North Church in Boston, Mass., and shortly after, Barbara Newman moved with her husband to his hometown of Buffalo, where he and his brother, Reginald B. Newman II, took over their father's coal delivery company and built it into NOCO Energy Corp., the largest fuel distribution company in Western New York.
While her husband was helping to build the family business, Mrs. Newman raised their four sons — but it didn't keep her from enjoying the outdoors.
"We had a place in West Valley that she used to take us out to every weekend. We'd go out there and make trails and do all kinds of outdoors stuff," Michael Newman recalled.
"When we were kids, she brought back pheasant eggs, which we incubated. They got hatched and we let them loose at West Valley. I don't know how my mom did it," Michael Newman added.
As her boys grew more independent, Mrs. Newman gravitated towards golf.
"She did love to play golf. In fact, she hit five holes-in-one," said Michael Newman. "There are people that go their whole life and never hit a hole-in-one, and she had five of them."
Michael Newman said golf was a pastime for both of his parents, which seemed to strengthen their bond.
"My dad and her were very close," Michael Newman said. "She played pretty regularly with my dad. That's something they always did together. Like, a lot of guys have their guys group, whereas my mom and my dad would always play together."
Michael Newman said his mother had a competitive spirit. Never one to allow the men in her home to overshadow her, she often reminded them, especially her husband, of her numerous holes-in-one on the golf course.
Mrs. Newman served on boards and community organizations, including Artpark, the Buffalo Zoo, the Junior League and the Bristol Home. She was active over the years with the annual WNED-TV Auction and the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns.
She was predeceased by her husband, who died in 2015.
She is survived by four sons, Robert L., Thomas B., James D. and Michael F.; two sisters, Susan Lutz and Margaret Lutz; and seven grandchildren, who enjoyed visiting her at her winter home in Jupiter, Fla.
A celebration of Mrs. Newman’s life is planned for June 9 at the Country Club of Buffalo, 250 Youngs Road, Amherst.