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Newman remembered for her wildflower ways
Laurel Newman lived her life like a wildflower, and yet could stand firm as an oak, and forever she will be memorialized with both.
In a ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Crooked River Lighthouse, where she served as a docent, the former reporter for the Apalachicola and Carrabelle Times was remembered by family and friends.
Laurel Jeanne Newman, 67, succumbed to congestive heart failure, COPD and liver failure on July 31 in South Florida, where she had lived with her oldest daughter Jessica Thrasher since Memorial Day.
Thrasher emblazoned a wooden plaque in honor of the “Lighthouse Lady,” and it will be placed at a wildflower garden being planted at the foot of the lighthouse. The garden will not be far from the live oak that Thrasher, daughter Valerie Welch, and son John Edward Cline, Jr., helped plant Sunday, sprinkling their mother’s ashes in the ground around its roots.
Born August 30, 1953 in Miami, the daughter of Bostonians John Ward and Esther Hannan who traveled south to settle there, Newman grew up in Opa-Locka and later married Edward Cline, with home she birthed three children.
After their divorce, she ventured
off with Gregory Newman on a boat through the Caribbean until settling just outside of Port Antonio, Jamaica, where the two ran tropical fish export and charter fishing businesses. This led
them to have connections to the film industry from movies filmed there, such as “Cocktails,” “Lord of the Flies,” and “Club Paradise.”
The couple later moved to Fort
Lauderdale and then to Carrabelle, where Newman worked as a journalist working for several newspapers, including mentoring Times editor David Adlerstein. She later worked at the Crooked River Lighthouse.
“The group of friends was small, but she would not have
wanted a large showing. Her three children were there, and had come from
long distances to share this special memorial in her adopted town,” wrote former Mayor Mel Kelly.
“Laurel Newman had an important career in the community long
before the lighthouse work,” she wrote. “She developed what she
told me was institutional memory and could fill in the background of events
and personnel better than anyone else could. “
Her husband, Gregory Newman, perished in a plane crash in 2018, and at the home they shared in Carrabelle, she kept a
noteworthy garden, which the lighthouse garden will forever emulate.
“In the shadow of the lighthouse she loved,
her friends and adult children remembered her well, and the
positive legacies she left to us all, both personally and within her
community,” Kelly wrote. “I will always be grateful to have been one of those friends.”