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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Family & friends mourn Disneyland death victim


The death of anyone at The Happiest Place on Earth is bound to lead to headlines and even jokes as the demise is recorded among the unlikely off-kilter events in the "Disneyland Babylon" diaries. But a man's suicide by apparent autodefenestration last week at the Disneyland Hotel on Magic Way was tragic, and a reminder of the reality and real pain behind the tabloid curiosity value, as well as the psychological and medical issues that remain beyond a cure.

A dentist, husband, father, son, brother and friend is remembered in this
obituary in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Dr. John H. Newman, Jr. died unexpectedly on May 2, 2008 after a year long struggle with severe anxiety and depression. He was 48 years old.

John was born in San Mateo, CA and grew up in Santa Cruz. He graduated with honors from Harbor High and UCSF, majoring in chemistry. He completed his education with a doctorate degree from UCSF School of Dentistry, where he met his wife to be, Len Vita. He had a very successful family dental practice in Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz for the past 21 years. His practice was characterized by a thoughtful, patient-centered approach to dental care popular with children, adults and seniors alike. John also enjoyed teaching dental hygiene at Cabrillo College.

John was a talented singer and musician. He had a James Taylor-quality to his voice which brought him invitations to sing at weddings and local social events. He took special pride in his involvement with Holy Cross music ministry where he was a parishioner, choir member and cantor.

John had an engaging, enthusiastic personality. He loved traveling with family and friends, playing high level tennis, downhill skiing, sushi and Mexican food. He has left an ever lasting impression as a dedicated professional, great friend, loving father, husband, brother and son.

John is survived by his wife, Len Newman; daughter, Lindsay; son, Mitchell; parents, John Sr. and Jean Newman, sisters Judy Newman Rakela and Jenny Newman Stockford, brother, Jeff Newman.

The recitation of the rosary will be held on Thursday, May 8th at 7:00 p.m. at Holy Cross Church and the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on May 9th at 12:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Church 126 High St Santa Cruz, Ca. The family would appreciate any donations be made to the John Newman Memorial Fund in care of Lighthouse Bank 111 Mission St. Santa Cruz, Ca 95060; 831-600-4018 to benefit the Holy Cross Music Ministry.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so sad to know that my old dentist, and my favorite cantor, is no longer here. I am heartbroken and will forever remember his smile at Holy Cross and will pray for his wife and children...

Karl J. Muzikar, DDS said...

John Newman was a great human being, dentist, father, friend and fellow Psi Omega buddy. I will pray for John now and when he gets to heaven he can pray for us. John, you will be truly missed. Karl J. Muzikar, DDS

Anonymous said...

We miss you, John. May perpetual light shine upon you, and may you rest in peace.

Roseanne Ganse said...

Oh John! What memories you have left all of us...like the one of your wedding to Len at Holy Cross and seeing you sing lovingly to her as she walked down the aisle and her sniffling during the whole ceremony! I was very lucky to have known you, to have worked with you in Dr. Young's office and to have you as a friend. I pray that you are now at peace. Your loved ones now have you as their guardian angel in heaven. You will be missed deeply!

Sparkey Greenberg said...

We are coming back to visit Santa cruz after moving away seven years ago. I called John's office to make appointments for me and my daughter, to see him and to sit back in his chaor again. He was our great dentist. we met John at Cabrillo's Dental Hygiene program and he became our dentisit, 18 years ago.

We are deeply touched by John and we wish Len and the family so much compassion as they grapple with their loss. I wish I could tell them in even the most smallest way how large John Newman's life reached. He tirelessly offered so much to so many.

How can we measure life when it comes at us like a brisk wind and settles us down in flash of time? To us, he gave us humor, knowledge, campassion, support and Floss, Floss, Floss!
Sheva Kuvet, The Texas Hill Country

Jeff said...

I met Dr. Newman in April of 2007 after a motorcycle accident left me with a gaping hole in my smile. A year later, several surgeries, and scores of office visits, John put the finishing touches on my new and improved smile.

Though I hadn't known him for long, from first we met I knew he was a remarkable man. I am so disappointed by this news of his passing. He was the first dentist in my 42 years of life that I actually looked forward to visiting.

You will be deeply missed John. I am a better person for knowing you. God speed!

Anonymous said...

I was one of Dr. Newman's students and we were all extremely fortunate to have had him teach in our clinic. For only a short few months, we all learned so much from him. He was extremely professional, funny, and a great teacher. He will truly be missed. Our hearts go out to his family. He truly left an impression on all of us...he will be missed.

Thomas Gong, DDS said...

Hearing of John's passing led to the only joyless thought I've ever had of him. What an honor to have been touched by his life, and to have experienced his enthusiasm and energy. He will be dearly missed, and always remain a connection to my youth. Grateful appreciation from your schoolmate, colleague, and Psi Omega brother. Thomas Gong, DDS.

Pamela Barientos said...

I was so sorry to hear of John's passing. John, Len and I were colleagues at UCSF, and everyone was so thrilled when they decided to get married...college sweethearts. My heart is broken for their profound loss. My deepest condolences to Len, her children and the family. God Bless. Pamela Brown Barientos

Anonymous said...

Oh, the news of John's death leaves me with such a heavy heart. He was a breath of fresh air in a stressful, competitive environment at UCSF. I had no doubt he would be a fabulous dentist, and taking Len for a wife made them the dynamic duo. My heart goes out to the family, especially Len and her children. Their loss is immeasurable. All my love and healing prayers. May the memories carry you through this difficult time.

Reid Ridgway said...

I feel quite shocked to learn of this an nearly a year after the sad event. I was trying to reach John tonight from Thailand where my daughter has been diagnosed with a terrible tooth disease that will need a major bit of dental surgery. As she is just 2 and a half years old, I was looking to ask John for a bit of advice on the options, because John was my personal dentist for several years before I left Santa Cruz for Thailand. John was a very very kind and good hearted man, and one whom I respected as a rare and caring professional. I considered him a friend and I'm so deeply sad to hear the news. I have suffered from clinical depression as well, and I just wish that John had allowed the time for it to pass. Life is very hard sometimes, and yet very beautiful. I know he had faith in God, and I know that he will be taken in. My deepest condolences to his family. I'm sorry to be so far away and ignorant of his passing. I hope that time has brought healing and forgiveness. I know that John was and is loved. He was a great, if sensitive soul, and I hope the family can always take comfort in that John deeply loved them. I will miss him deeply.

Reid Ridgway

Sandi Paquette James said...

The Christmas card didn't come this year...i know why now. Unfortunately i didn't find out the sad news about John until today, March 25, 2009. Such a wonderful, talented person, so one-of-a-kind! John's memory was amazing...I will never forget meeting John in the cafeteria at UCSF with about 8 other hygiene students (including Len)...he met us for the 1st time and then repeated all of our names. Impressed me then and when he played the piano and sang to Len at their wedding-there was not a dry eye in the church. John was an incredible man. My prayers are with Len and the rest of the family.