Jimmy R. Newton Jr., Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and resident of Ignacio, Colorado, died at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, Colorado, on Monday March 31, 2014, of an undisclosed illness.
Mr. Newton – or, as his friends liked to call him, “JimBo” – was born to Jimmy and Elaine Newton on September 18, 1976.
JimBo attended and graduated from Ignacio High School in 1995. He was an active member of the wrestling team and was a lifelong supporter of the Ignacio School District. Later in 1995, he received his only child, Maylon Kaye Newton. Throughout his years in school, teachers and students alike applauded his leadership qualities.
JimBo loved comic books; his favorite comic book characters were Wolverine from the X-Men and the Incredible Hulk. His mom said when JimBo was little, “Hulk” was the first word he learned to write and soon it was written all over the walls in the hallway.
In his spare time, JimBo loved the powwow circuit. He belonged to many drum groups around Indian Country, but his drum group was Yellow Jacket, born of his brothers from the Southern Ute Rez. While sitting at home on a weekend watching his beloved Denver Broncos or the Oklahoma Sooners, JimBo also loved to do arts and crafts. He is well known for his powwow regalia: he made items such as barrettes, earrings and plumes, but his specialty was peyote stitching. He was a talented artist and earned his degree in Visual Graphic Design at Al Collins College in Tempe, Arizona, where he met his wife, Flora Murphy.
Upon graduating college and before he was elected to Tribal Council, JimBo moved back home to Ignacio where he got a job with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe as a Reporter/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 has a soft spot for the Drum. He always took the opportunity to give back to the community; JimBo was a volunteer flag football coach and a wrestling coach and taught culture and tradition to the youth at the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy and the Ignacio schools. JimBo always had time for the youth in the 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. He was able to see that happen in February 2014.
JimBo loved his Ute people, culture, and the state of Colorado, “the original homeland of the Utes,” as he would always say. He woke up every morning with “Nuuciu” in his heart. He worked hard for his people and enjoyed the time he got to spend interacting with them. He lived by his own motto: “Live for knowledge and always know where you come from.”
He is survived by his wife Flora Murphy-Newton of Ignacio, his Daughter Maylon Kaye Newton of Ada, Oklahoma, his parents Jimmy R. Newton Sr. and Elaine Newton of Ignacio, Colorado, his maternal grandparents, Ray and Josie Olguin, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as many “brothers” and “sisters” of the traditional way. He also leaves behind a Corgi named Cedar, a Chihuahua named Selena, and two Dachshunds named Kevin, aka “Big Kev,” and Seawn Boy. He is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents Tom and Jane Newton, uncle Darrell Newton and life mentor Orian L. Box. May the Creator walk beside you on your journey, Brother JimBo.
Services will be on Friday, April 4, 2014, at 9 a.m. at the Sky Ute Casino Resort’s Events Center at 14324 US Hwy 172 North in Ignacio, Colorado and a burial will follow at Ouray Memorial Cemetery. Please send flowers to the Sky Ute Casino Resort.