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Bob W. Newsome

Bob W. Newsome Dr. Bob Newsome, 89, died Saturday, December 16 at Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan. He had been a resident of Manhattan for 57 years.

Bob Newsome was born June 5, 1928 in Frederick, OK, the son of Walter and Gladys (Tipton) Newsome.

Bob was orphaned at the age of eight and spent the following eight years at the Western Oklahoma Orphan's Home in Helena, OK. He graduated from Altus (OK) High School in 1946.

Following an 18-month tour of duty in the Army, he went to college on the G.I. Bill and received an Associate's degree from Cameron State (OK) Agricultural College 1949. He then graduated with a BS degree from Oklahoma State University in Agronomy in 1951. He later received a Masters degree in Extension Education and Economics from Kansas State University in 1960, and a Ph.D. in Education from Oklahoma State University in 1965.

Bob’s first job following graduation from OSU was an agriculture teaching position in Imperial, NE. It was there he met Mary Lou Stevenson in 1951. Lou was a school teacher. They married in Palisade, NE on August 23, 1953. They enjoyed 64 years of marriage.

Two years after they were married, Bob began a nearly 40-year career with Kansas State Extension in McPherson (later Oskaloosa). He and Lou moved to Manhattan in 1960. He became the first County Extension Director in Kansas in 1965. In 1979, Kansas State Extension appointed him as an Area Extension Director, to oversee 22 counties in Northeast Kansas. He retired from Kansas State Extension in 1994.

Bob’s contributions as Riley County Extension Director were significant. The most recognizable part of his legacy was his vision for the formation of CiCo Park in the 1960s, in which coordinated the establishment of the community venue and recreational facility. He re-located the Riley County Fair to CiCo as well as initiating the formation of the Kaw Valley Rodeo Association in 1975 and the rodeo's location at CiCo. Additionally, he oversaw the formation of the County's 911 and ambulance services, rural fire districts and the Big Lakes Regional Planning Commission.

Bob held elected office at 28 years, likely the longest in local history. He was elected to four terms to the USD 383 Board of Education and three terms to the Riley County Commission.

His accomplishments on the County Commission, in particular, have carried a lasting impact. These include the consolidation Manhattan's health care services through the County’s contribution of Memorial Hospital to Kansas State University, and the initial votes which laid the groundwork for NBAF.

Bob's awards were numerous, highlighted by the Intergovernmental Distinguished Service Award (KSU/Riley County/City of Manhattan/USD 383) and the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Award.

Bob's civic involvement included Masonic Lodge (60 years), ISIS Shriners, Rotary and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. He was a long-time little league baseball coach. Additionally, he was a member of the First United Methodist Church, and the Kansas State University and Oklahoma State University alumni associations.

Bob is survived by Lou of the home, one son, Bill, and his wife, Tecile, of Lawrence, KS, and four grandchildren: Neil, Preston, Rosemary and Charlie.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, December 27, 2017, at the First United Methodist Church, 612 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502. Rev. Ben Duerfeldt will officiate. A reception will be held afterwards at the church.

Memorials have been designated for the Kansas 4-H Foundation and the Shriners Children's Hospital Travel Fund. Contributions should be made in care of Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502.

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