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.
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.
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.
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 was held April 4, 2014, at the Sky Ute Casino & Resort Events Center. Burial was at Ouray Memorial Cemetery in Ignacio.