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Jimmy R. Newton Jr.


Ignacio resident Jimmy R. Newton Jr., chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, died Monday, March 31, 2014, at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Known as “JimBo” to his friends, he was born to Elaine and Jimmy Newton Sr., on Sept. 18, 1976. He graduated from Ignacio High School in 1995. Mr. Newton was an active member of the wrestling team and a lifelong supporter of the Ignacio School District.

“Throughout his years in school, teachers and students alike applauded his leadership qualities,” according to his family. “JimBo loved comic books; his favorite comic book characters were Wolverine from the X-Men and the Incredible Hulk. His mom said when JimBo was little, ‘Hulk’ was the first word he learned to write and soon it was written all over the walls in the hallway.”

Upon graduating from Al Collins Graphic Design School in Arizona, Mr. Newton moved back home to Ignacio. He was a reporter and photographer for the Southern Ute Drum, the tribe’s newspaper. He loved the newspaper and after being elected to Tribal Council in 2003, he always had a soft spot for the Drum.

“He always took the opportunity to give back to the community,” according to his family. “JimBo was a volunteer flag football coach, a wrestling coach and taught culture and tradition to the youth at the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy and Ignacio schools. JimBo always had time for the youth in community, seeing kids happy always put a smile on his face.”

The Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council was one of the projects that he wanted to see come to fruition, which he was able to see in February.

In his spare time, Mr. Newton loved the “pow-wow circuit.” He belonged to numerous Drum groups around Indian Country, but his drum group was YellowJacket, with his brothers from the Southern Ute Tribe. While sitting at home on a weekend watching his beloved Denver Broncos or the Oklahoma Sooners, Mr. Newton also enjoyed arts and crafts.

“He is well known for his pow-wow regalia,” according to his family.

He made items such as barrettes, earrings and plumes, but his specialty was peyote stitching.

“JimBo loved his Ute people, culture and the state of Colorado,” according to his family. “‘The original homeland of the Utes,’ as he would always say. He woke up every morning with ‘Nuuciu’ in his heart. He worked hard for his people and enjoyed the time he got to spend interacting with them. He lived by his own motto: ‘Live for knowledge and always know where you come from.’”

Mr. Newton also enjoyed spending time with his corgi Cedar, Chihuahua Selena and dachshunds Kevin, also known as “Big Kev,” and Sean Boy.

Mr. Newton is survived by his wife, Flora Murphy-Newton, of Ignacio; daughter, Maylon Kaye Newton, of Ada, Okla.; parents, Elaine and Jimmy R. Newton Sr., of Ignacio; maternal grandparents, Ray and Josie Olguin; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

A funeral will be held at 9 a.m. today, April 4, 2014, at the Sky Ute Casino & Resort Events Center, 14324 Colorado Highway 172 in Ignacio. Burial will take place at Ouray Memorial Cemetery in Ignacio.

Flowers may be sent to the Sky Ute Casino.

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