The funeral services for the late Dr. John T. Newkirk of 301 Carter Road, Sylvester, Georgia, who departed this life on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at the Lillian G. Carter Health & Rehabilitation Center in Plains, Georgia, will be held on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. from the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Shingler, Georgia with the Pastor, Reverend Herman West, officiating, Reverend Dr. Daniel Simmons will be delivering the Eulogy. Burial will follow in the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Shingler, Georgia. Dr. John Thomas Newkirk was born on February 23, 1924 to the late Mr. Dave and Estella Newkirk in Shingler, Georgia (Worth County). He made his transition from this life peacefully on September 9, 2014 at the Lillian Carter Nursing Home in Plains, Georgia. He loved the Lord and professed Christ as his Savior at an early age and joined Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Shingler, Georgia. He was a faithful deacon of the church and a Sunday School teacher. As a servant of the Lord, he represented Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at the St. Paul Missionary Association and traveled to many surrounding churches in different counties to worship and fellowship with ministers and the community at-large for many years. Dr. Newkirk graduated from Oak Hill High School in Sylvester, Georgia. He received his bachelor’s degree from Fort Valley State University, a master’s degree from Florida Agriculture Mechanical University, and a Doctor of Law Degree from Union Baptist Seminary. He served his country in the United States Navy and was deployed out to sea on U.S. Navy vessels during World War II. As he matriculated at Fort Valley State University, he was an active member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and maintained membership with Albany Alumni Chapter and attended meetings as long as his health prevailed post-graduate years. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity named Dr. Newkirk “Man of the Year” for his outstanding service to the community, education, and service to his country. After returning to Sylvester, Georgia in his earlier years, he became a mason and was associated with a Masonic Lodge in the surrounding community.
Upon graduating from Fort Valley State University, Dr. Newkirk returned home to Sylvester, Georgia and began his career path (education) in the Worth County School System as a Teacher in the Oak Hill community, a Principal at Parker School Elementary, and Assistant Superintendent for Worth County School System. Serving as Assistant Superintendent for Worth County School System was the height of his career due to the fact that in previous years he was very active and involved with the transition from segregation to integration. Teaching and mentoring students was the love of his life. His quest in life was to help every student understand that having an education would make a difference in their life. As a community activist for children, he served as a Den Master for Boy Scouts training youth in responsible citizenship and character development. After retiring from the Worth County School System in 1986, he was actively involved with the retired teacher association, an activist for everyone having the right to vote, and concentrated on how to empower others in the community.
Dr. Newkirk married the love of his life, the late Helen Lynn Britt Newkirk and they spent 57 blissful years in marriage. To this union, they were blessed with three loving children, Joseph Newkirk, the late Danny Newkirk, and Machelle Matthews and seven grandchildren. Dr. Newkirk loved his family with all his heart, soul, and mind encouraging and supporting each of them in whatever they did. He believed that through God, all things are possible. One of his favorite quotes was, “Always trust in God and He will see you through”. Dr. John Thomas Newkirk is preceded in death by his wife, the late Mrs. Helen Lynn Britt Newkirk and son, the late Danny Newkirk. He leaves to cherish his memory a son, Joseph Newkirk (Barbara), and a daughter, Dr. Machelle Matthews (Charles), daughter-in-law, Linda Newkirk, seven grandchildren: Joseph Newkirk, Jr. (Kim), Jocelyn Newkirk, Yusvf Brantley(Ayana), Melanesa Sales, Danny Newkirk, Jr. (Octavia), Charles Matthews, Jr., and Brooke Matthews, great-grandchildren: Jordan, Jaxson, Mikel, Mikala, Malachi, Danny III, Brandon, Yusvf Jr., Laelani, Ashanti, and Jessica. Dr. Newkirk also leaves to cherish his memory a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. Additionally, he leaves an array of friends who will always remember the good stories about how to take care of family and what education means to our society. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
Family and Friends may feel free to sign the guestbook online at www.shippsfuneralhome.com
Shipp’s Funeral Home, 501 W. Willingham St., Sylvester, Ga. 229-776-1355