John M. Newmann ’63
b. July 11, 1941
d. august 12, 2011
The Class of 1963 is seeking information about John to share on these pages. If you know of an article, photos or family connections, or can point us toward finding this information, we would be grateful. Please forward all materials and contacts to the Class of 1963 Webmaster.
Olio 1963: 407 Groveland Avenue, Highland Park, Illinois. Prepared at Highland Park High School. Theta Delta Chi, Rushing Chairman. Major: Religion. SPHINX. Dorm Advisor. Tennis: "1963".
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JOHN M. NEWMANN ’63
John Newmann died of heart failure on Aug. 12, 2011, peacefully at the home of his daughter Sara in Berkeley, Calif., listening with a smile to his favorite Louis Armstrong. His life was an amazing 40-year journey with a life-threatening illness. One of his kidneys was removed while at Amherst, and he lost the use of the other in 1971. He dialyzed while working in Southeast Asia for the Ford Foundation (1967-79) and while obtaining his Ph.D. in development economics from the Fletcher School at Tufts (1974) and his master’s in public health from Harvard (1980).
In 1980, he embarked on a renal disease crusade, consulting, volunteering, writing, publishing and speaking. He became a nationally prominent healthcare consultant and patient advocate, helping thousands to cope with the disease, as he had learned to himself. For this work, he was recognized by many renal care groups, including the American Association of Kidney Patients, which he served as president. After a transplant from an unrelated person failed, he received a kidney from his daughter Emily in 1994. That enabled him to live, miraculously, to age 70.
John’s countless friends around the world also included those he made in Japan as the Amherst-Doshisha Fellow (1964-65) and Louis Armstrong, whom he met at the Blue Note in Chicago on his 11th birthday. He invited John to sit at the piano, and their friendship lasted until the great jazz musician died.
It was a gift to be with John. He was always willing to engage in some frolic or other. He made you laugh, forget about your own troubles and appreciate the special joys of being human—joys that he sensed with a heightened appreciation as his own vulnerability grew.
John is survived by his two daughters, Sara and Emily, Emily’s two children (on whom he doted) and his brothers Fred ’59 and Bill ’67.
—Kent Faerber ’63
If you would like to be in touch with John's family, you can reach his daughters, Emily and Sara, at the following:
47 Reed Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
80 Eucalyptus Road
Berkeley, CA 94705
Where available, you will find an In Memory Notice from Amherst magazine, and Letters from Class Reunion Books. Classmates are encouraged to enter Memories using the link below.