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Naomi Lee Newkirk

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Naomi Lee Newkirk passed away with her sons by her side after a full and long life and a shorter illness on Sept. 10, 2008. She is survived by her two sons Terence, and Douglas; two wonderful grandchildren Nicole and Tobias, and the newest member of the family, Tobias's wife Nicole. She is also survived by her sisters Bessie Butterfield of El Dorado Springs, Mo., Mildred Haynes, of Belton Mo., and Ernestine Zaring, of Wichita, Kan. She was preceded in death by her husband of 28 years, Vincent Newkirk, who died prematurely in 1971.

She was born in Walker, Mo., in 1920, oldest of seven children of Ernest and Ada Spencer, a farming family. She graduated from Walker High School in 1937. Her father wanted his girls to grow up to be farmer's wives. Naomi Lee had other ideas and borrowed money from her father to attend Chillicothe Business College and began a career in business that lasted until she retired in 1988. One of her proudest moments in her life was when she repaid her father that loan. She met and married Lieutenant Vincent Newkirk on July 17, 1943, and lived on a variety of military bases before he was shipped overseas to the Japanese Theater in 1944.

In 1944 she came west to California to work and where she would spend the rest of her life. When Captain Newkirk returned from the war they bought their first house on 33rd Street, in Sacramento, Calif. While he attended college she began a long career working for the labor unions. She worked for the Operating Engineers, Ironworkers, and Electricians before becoming a stay at home mom to rear her two children. In 1958 the family moved to Placerville. After her children became older she returned to work as a part time reporter for the Mountain Democrat, in Placerville, and as parish secretary for Saint Patrick's Catholic Church. She eventually returned to working for the unions as office manager for the Laborers, in Placerville, and then Lumber Production Industry Workers and finally the Carpenters and Millmens Union in Sacramento until she retired.

She was a proud member of her own union the Office & Professional Employees International Union, Local 29 for more than 50 years. In her retirement she enjoyed her grandchildren, friends, and returned to her roots to visit her and her husband's family in the Midwest. Her favorite things were her grandchildren, roses, politics, hummingbirds, martinis, dogs, Harry S. Truman, young people (under 87), Christmas and Valentine's Day, but especially Halloween.

One of the last doctors who treated her remembered her as "heroic, vivacious, and extraordinary." A visitation and rosary was held on Sept. 26, at 10 a.m., followed by a funeral mass at 11 a.m., at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church 3109 Sacramento Street, in Placerville. In lieu of flowers the family asks that any remembrances be donated to the SPCA, a local hospice, or charity of your choice.