NEWMAN - Dr. Morris I. Clinical psychologist and Colonel in the New York Guard, passed away on November 23, 2020, at age 79, after a lengthy battle with kidney disease. "Morrie" will be remembered for his dry wit, gentle nature, and his insatiable appetite for learning. He was an early supporter of National Public Radio, and his hobbies over the years included beer making, all things computer, growing tomatoes, and learning foreign languages. He was a voracious reader, especially science fiction, and enjoyed movies, live comedy, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. A lifelong liberal, Morrie was also a longstanding member of the Amherst Democratic Committee. Born in Chicago, IL in 1941 to first-generation Russian Jewish parents, in 1958 Morrie graduated from Von Steuben High School, a public school incubator for many future professionals. He attended the University of Chicago before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1960. Upon discharge in 1963, he resumed his education, culminating in a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. His nomadic nature took him to New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Wyoming before arriving in Buffalo in June, 1977, where he first worked at the JN Adam Developmental Center. He went on to work at several other New York facilities, including West Seneca Developmental Center, Buffalo Psychiatric Center, Attica Prison, and in later years, with the NY State OPWDD, performing disability determinations. Through most of his career, Morrie also applied his skills in private practice helping clients, particularly those suffering with depression. In 1990, Morrie found a new occupation with the New York State Guard, an all-volunteer force that supports the New York National Guard. He enjoyed many summers training at Camp Smith near Peekskill, NY. In 2001, he was deployed to New York City to provide counseling services after the 9/11 attack. Morrie served many years in the Army Division before moving to the Air Division, where he rose to the rank of Colonel and retired as commander of his unit in 2007. Morrie and his wife, Debbie, were fixtures at the annual Military Ball at the Connecticut Street Armory for many years. Morrie enjoyed Halloween parties, which he attended in a variety of elaborate costumes. He loved his winter stays in FL, where he was hosted by NY Guard friends, Bob Greene and Angela O'Brien. He also enjoyed summer vacations with extended family in Chicago, WI, and MI. The joy of his life was his grandson, Justin, and he was thrilled to see his daughter Liz become the mother of three children. Some of his happiest moments were provided by his canine friends over the years: Mr. Phelps; two rescue dogs; and his surviving companion, Lucky. Morrie is survived by his wife of 44 years, Debra A. Norton; a son, Jason L. (Wasana) Newman of Tonawanda, NY; a daughter, Liz Kelley, of Elk Rapids, MI; four grandchildren: Justin L. Newman, Abby Kelley, Lola Kelly, Benjamin Kelley; his great-nephew and caregiver, Troy A. Kendon Sharka; three sisters-in-law: Loretta Schultz; Caroll Levanetz; Bonnie (Ron) Ludwig; and over 70 nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Dora nee Kleiman Newman and Arthur M. Newman, and step-mother, Dorothea Newman; a brother, Barry Newman; a son, Jonathan T. Newman; one sister-in-law, Marion M. Sharka; and brothers-in-law, Al Sharka, Sr., Burnell (Bud) Schultz, and Jim Levanetz. The family wishes to thank Dr. John Hall, longtime family doctor; nephrologist Dr. Mandip Panesar and the staff at ECMC outpatient dialysis; and the many caring health professionals at Buffalo General Medical Center. The Castiglia Funeral Home assisted with cremation. A celebration of Morrie's life is being planned for next summer.
Dr. Morris I. NEWMAN