Lt. Joseph Fulton Newsome, U.S.C.G. (Ret.), 85, died peacefully Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, at The Service League of Greenville Inpatient Hospice in Greenville.
Joe was born Nov. 5, 1936, in Union County, to the late Joseph William Newsome and Ola Mae Price Newsome.
He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard at 18 and rose through the ranks, serving tours of duty on cutters and patrol boats in Florida, a lighthouse in Alaska, high endurance cutters in California and participating in Operation Deep Freeze in 1966 aboard the USCGC Glacier, an icebreaker supporting the resupply of the U.S. station at McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.
Having risen to the rank of chief petty officer, Joe was promoted to chief warrant officer and subsequently assigned to the U.S. Army’s Military Mission with the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie (GENMISH) as a technical adviser to patrol boat forces in Abadan, Iran. In Iran, Joe met an American schoolteacher teaching at a school for the children of oil company employees. Joe married Laurel Elaine Tibbetts after they returned home from Iran on Nov. 2, 1970. Later commissioned a lieutenant, Joe completed his service with tours as ship-building inspector in New Orleans, as engineering officer aboard USCGC Dependable based in Panama City, Fla. and in the Naval Engineering Division at U.S.C.G. headquarters in Washington, D.C. He retired in 1975 after proudly serving his country for 20 years.
Upon his retirement, Joe and Laurel moved to Chadbourn, where they resided for the next 46 years. In Columbus County, Joe worked as an instructor at Southeastern Community College, as a courier for Pony Express and a series of positions at Columbus County Hospital. He retired as the Director of Engineering for the hospital in 1999. In their free time, Joe and Laurel loved to travel and together, they visited all 50 states and 10 provinces in Canada.
A devoted husband, father and grandfather, Joe loved his family and gave them his time generously, never missing an opportunity to see his kids and grandkids. He was a tremendous story-teller, always willing to share his travels and adventures with others. Joe possessed a wonderful spontaneity. On a number of occasions, he would tell Laurel he wanted to get ice cream and then proceed to his favorite ice cream parlor in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Along with travel, Joe loved to play golf and go saltwater fishing. On many fall mornings he could be found trolling along the oyster shell banks of the Intracoastal Waterway in Brunswick County for speckled trout.
A memorial service and burial, with full military honors, will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, March 25 at Arlington National Cemetery. Wilkerson Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the family.
Joe is survived by his wife of 51 years, Laurel E. Newsome of Greenville; two sons, Joseph A. (Jody) Newsome of Greenville, and John F. Newsome of Columbia, S.C.; two daughters-in-law, Paula Griffin Newsome and Anne Medlin Newsome; one sister, Kathryn Newsome Mills of Marshville; and four grandchildren, Reeves, Caroline, Nicholas and Sophie.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages any memorials be made to the Coast Guard Foundation.
Online condolences at www.WilkersonFuneralHome.com.