Bernard Newman, 93
Bernard (Ben) Newman died May 3 at 93, surrounded by his wife and three children. He was admired by all who knew him.
Newman was born in Brooklyn to Julius and Anna, who were recent immigrants, and was raised with two brothers.
With the outbreak of World War II, Newman enlisted in the Army Air Corps, serving as a B-24 bombardier pilot. When his plane was shot down while bombing the Ploiesti oil wells in Romania in 1945, he flew the plane as far as the Adriatic Sea before landing in the ocean. Despite being catapulted through the windshield and pinned underwater by a jammed seat belt, he survived. For this and other missions, Newman received a Purple Heart, an Air Medal, four battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. He was later assigned to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., where he met Edith Soloway, who was working in Air Force intelligence. They loved each other deeply for the next 69 years.
After the war, Newman attended law school at St. Johns University in New York, and he and Edith married on June 23, 1948. They drove to California after he passed the New York bar exam.
When Newman stopped practicing law because of a brain hemorrhage at age 88, the stories that the family heard from his clients were overwhelming. He was part lawyer, part therapist and full-time friend.
Newman said his greatest source of pride was his children. He was an exemplary father, his calmness a balm, his guidance wise and sure. He was an equally devoted grandfather, known to his grandchildren as Papa.
Newman had a strong sense of civic duty. He was very involved in B’nai Brith, where he served as president of his lodge, and later in the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), eventually joining its national board. After enduring a leg amputation, he helped form the Mutual Amputee Fellowship/Aid Foundation to counsel amputees. He was a founding member of the Beverly Hills Educational Foundation and the Maple Center. As the executor of the Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond Trust, he helped establish an endowment fund at the USC Thornton School of Music for vocal arts performance majors.
In addition to his wife, Newman is survived by his children Jason (Karyn), Gary (Jeanne) and Deena (Charles); and seven grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the ADL’s national chapter and to the Heart & Vascular Center at Good Samaritan Hospital.
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