Featured Resident – Jackie Newman
Jackie was born in the small town of Sheffield, MO. It was located between Northeast KC and Independence, but has since been incorporated into Kansas City. She was the oldest of two girls born to Thomas “Jack” and Ruby Griffin. Growing up the family moved from Sheffield to Fairmont to Sugar Creek to Claycomo and finally to Gashland (now part of KC North). She has fond memories of spending summers at her grandparent’s farm in Lowery City. She and her sister would scavenge through a local junkyard, put on shows with friends for fun, ride bikes and play canasta. In eighth grade she played Jo in the school’s performance of Little Women.
As a sophomore, she met a young man named Virgil Newman who worked at the Skelly station. He was a senior at Park Hill and she attended NKC High School. Her friends bet him a date with her. They laughed about it but he actually called and asked her out. They started dating in April ‘59. Virgil graduated in May and went to work in August at Corn Products where Jackie’s father worked. They continued dating and married in Oct. ’60, when Jackie was a senior in high school. She got pregnant immediately and had to quit attending school because pregnant girls weren’t allowed to attend. She did a correspondence course and graduated in 1961.
Virgil and Jackie lived in an apartment in Gashland. Thomas was born in 1961 and they bought a house in Gladstone in December. Virgil was into racing super modified (now Sprint cars) and would race at Riverside, Lakeside and Olympic Stadium. The couple also started bowling for fun, played pitch and would go dancing at the American Legion Hall. They had four more children – Angela in ’63, Sherry in ’64, Tim in ’66 and Deanna in ’67. Jackie would take all five kids to see their father race. They built a new house in 1965 in Winwood. The girls were involved in dancing and acrobatics and the boys played Little League.
Jackie went to work at the Kmart on Vivion and Antioch when it first opened but it wasn’t profitable for her and so she quit. Virgil worked two jobs so Jackie could stay home with the kids. When Deanna started school, Jackie went to work in the school cafeteria. She worked at Chouteau Elementary for three years then transferred to NKC High School. She hated working at the high school and quit.
In Sept.’76 she took the test to work for the state. She was hired to do clerical work for Family Services in Jackson County in December ’76. She wanted to work for Clay County and with help from her boss, she was able to transfer to Clay County in January ’77. After four years in clerical work, she took the test to become a case worker. She got hired as a case worker at the Worker’s Incentive (WIN) then from a couple of years she worked with Income Maintanence. She finally took the Social Worker’s test. She worked as a Relative Care Case Manager then as an Adoption Specialist. She retired in 2001.
The family built a house in Lawson and moved in on January 8, 1977. They sold it in ’96 and went to Hawaii. They then built a home in Holt in 1997.
In 1978, Virgil was diagnosed with hardening of the arteries. While prepping for bypass surgery, he had a heart attack that they later found out killed half of his heart. In Sept. ’92, he had a heart transplant. He passed away in January ’03 from complications of a ruptured colon.
Jackie joined a pen pal club (Show Me Pen Pals and Friends) her mom and two aunts were involved with. She never had a pen pal but took part in yearly picnics with different groups. She even did their newsletter for a while after her mom passed away.
After her husband’s death, Jackie traveled with her Aunt Katie. They went to Mt. Rushmore, Glacier National Park, Canada and Florida. The entire family, all 18 of them, went to Disney World in Florida in 2006 for a week. Virgil and Jackie had started bowling on leagues in the early 70s and she continued until 2000 when she tore her rotator cuff during a tournament. She’s a member of the Country Red Hatters. She met the leader at a grief support group. She is also an avid reader.
Between 2000 and 2004, Jackie had three knee surgeries and surgery on both rotator cuffs. Due to health issues, she moved from her home in Holt to Westbrook in June of this year. She says she’s thrilled not to have to cook all the time. She also likes having her own space and likes the activities – though she says she tends to forget or doze off before making it out to them.
Family is very important to Jackie. She gets together with her mother’s family at the Corner Café in Liberty the first Thursday of each month. Besides her five children, she has a son-in-law (Mark) and a daughter-in-law (Stacy), five grandsons, four granddaughters and one great grandson.