Heaven’s sports teams cheered the arrival of Roger Newman to their ranks on the morning of September 25, 2022. An athlete of note for the vast majority of his life, his loved ones are quite sure he pole-vaulted his way over the pearly gates, nailed the landing, and is already on the tennis court running drills for anyone with an interest in the game.
Born in Wisconsin 87 years ago, Roger, his parents Howard and Hazel, and younger sister Margaret moved to Allegan, Michigan when he was fifteen. Howard bought Skogmo’s Department Store in nearby Otsego shortly thereafter, modeling a career in retail that Roger would later emulate. Roger’s lifelong love of sports solidified at Allegan High School, where he lettered in four sports, and eventually was inducted to the Allegan Athletics Hall of Fame. Roger earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University, playing basketball for the Broncos and for a short time leading the nation with his stellar free throw percentage. He served his country by enlisting in the Army and loved to tell people about another recruit with whom he shared a long ship journey to Germany, Elvis Presley.
Upon his return stateside, Roger began a career in teaching, first in Otsego, then Portage Public Schools. One fateful day at Otsego High School a student teacher named Georgia Sheldon caught his eye and he never looked away. They were married in 1965, the same year he received his Master’s Degree in Counseling from WMU. A few years later they welcomed their son Marc, followed by their daughter Marcy. Roger was a natural at fatherhood and his interest and involvement in his kids’ lives never waned, whether it was the hours spent on various sports fields with Marc, or chaperoning and driving on school trips and competitions with Marcy.
In 1976 Roger surprised Georgia by expressing his interest in buying his parents’ store building and continuing to run a department store there. As a team they founded Newman’s Department Store which was a vibrant business they would run together for the next 15 years and later transition to the Otsego Antiques Mall. Roger was a fixture downtown and in the community at large, active in the Chamber of Commerce, an elected member of the Otsego City Commission, an engaged participant in the Kalamazoo River cleanup planning, and a tennis coach at Otsego High School.
Roger always loved to travel and enjoyed planning routes that wouldn’t take him the same way twice. Many family vacations were embarked upon with Rog behind the wheel of a motor home. He had a passion for waterways, and had a dream of paddling from Vicksburg, Michigan to Vicksburg, Mississippi. The dream was never realized, but the planning brought him much pleasure. Roger also traveled to compete in various Senior Olympics competitions both at the state and national level. Into his seventies he could be found bringing home gold and other medals in the high jump, long jump, pole vault and tennis. A crowning achievement was his bronze medal win in the high jump at the National Senior Olympics in Tucson, Arizona.
He leaves behind a family forever grateful for his world class decency, his smile, and his absolute, multi-faceted and unconditional love and support. He is survived by his wife of 57 years Georgia, his kids Marc and Marcy, their spouses Panrada and Pete, grandkids Nico and Ruby, his sister Margaret and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Donations in memory of Roger may be made to the
American Red Cross
Disabled American Veterans
or to the
Otsego Public Schools Foundation.
Cremation has taken place and no services are scheduled at this time.
Messages of condolence may be posted at www.WinkelFuneralHome.com.
Offer Condolence for the family of Roger H. Newman
October 1, 2022 at 9:37 am
Dear Georgia & family, So very sorry to hear of this. Roger was an incredible human, with the greatest smile. How he loved you! My deepest condolences. Penny Pulver Baker
Penny thank you so much for these kind words. Appreciate it more than you know. Georgia Newman
October 9, 2022 at 9:44 am
Penny thank you so much for these kind words. Appreciate it more than you know.
October 1, 2022 at 9:43 am
Georgia, Marc, and Marci, so sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. Heaven’s teams are indeed cheering him on!
October 1, 2022 at 9:46 am
Georgia, Marc, and Marcy, so sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. Heaven’s teams are indeed cheering him on!
October 9, 2022 at 9:47 am
David, we enjoyed you so much when you worked right next-door to us for so many years at Flora Moore’s Bloomin’ Shop. I think of that former business community we had during the 70s, 80s and on, a very cohesive group in downtown Otsego♥️
Bonnie Livingston Goodacre
October 1, 2022 at 10:21 am
Dear Georgia and Rogers entire family, so sorry to hear of the loss of Roger, he was a good man,a good human, and highly regarded by all who knew him. I remember you from school , Livingston was my maiden name and you were a yr I think behind us from 59 , I think you were in my cousin Karen’s class, Shipley, and Judy Westfield. Just wanted to express my condolences, know too well what your all going through, but he was a good man , he had a good life and he’ll never be forgotten by those who knew him or those who loved him.
Dwight and Vicki Logee
October 1, 2022 at 11:37 am
So sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. I knew Roger as a child, had him for a teacher, and spent many happy hours with them at the Voyager in recent years. He was so pleasant to be around and his marvelous smile was so infectious you always had a good time. May God grant you peace .
Dwight and Vicki. Krys and Jan
October 1, 2022 at 2:13 pm
So sorry to hear about Roger. He was an amazing guy with a huge smile!
October 1, 2022 at 2:27 pm
Dear Georgia, Marc and Marcy and family:
What a beautiful and perfect description of Roger and his life of encouragement and support for those who crossed his path; especially students. We always enjoyed his great smile and enthusiastic welcome whenever we saw him. His love for sports and support for those involved certainly was
contagious as he cheered so many on at their sporting events. His accomplishments in Senior Olympics were certainly admirable. We will always remember the fun times we had as a family with our kids growing up; Lake fun, travel , celebrations and family get togethers Wonderful times to recall. May God give you His peace in your wonderful memories and Roger’s contagious smile that will always be remembered. Love, Craig and Lorna Sisson.
October 1, 2022 at 2:30 pm
Such a wonderful photo of Roger, as I never saw he (nor Georgia) without a smile. What a wonderful example for all of us of how to walk through life…by being appreciative for all that we are given.
I always enjoyed shopping in Newman’s and then the Antiques Mall. Everyone was made to feel like family.
Sandy and Bob McParlan
October 1, 2022 at 4:14 pm
A stellar member and supportive member of the otsego community who should be remembered for his contributions.
October 1, 2022 at 5:07 pm
I’m so sorry to note Rogers passing. Georgia and I were classmates in OHS Class of 1960.
October 1, 2022 at 5:20 pm
Georgia So sorry for your loss. Know Roger will be greatly missed by all that knew him. Prayers are with you and the family.
October 1, 2022 at 7:37 pm
Georga, Marc and Marcy. I am so sorry to read about the passing of Roger. I have many fond memories of working at Newman’s Department Store. Especially the one Halloween Roger was Little Bo Peep and I was one of his lost sheep:) He was a very compassionate and considerate boss – even when I mismarked the VERY expensive work overhauls to the point there was no chance of any profit on those sales – and they were flying out of the store. Please know you are all in my prayers.
Barb and Bob Gulbranson
October 1, 2022 at 7:57 pm
We had the pleasure of getting to know Roger & Georgia in Tucson, AZ when they came shopping to the Girls’ Estate Sales that we worked at…and discovered our mutual ties to this area in Michigan. They were kind enough to drop off local newspapers when in town so I could keep up on the happenings. Goergia & Roger always wore a smile and were ready for a hug. We even had the pleasure to visit their Antique Mall when we came up in the summer to stay at Sandy Pines. Wonderful people Heaven! Heaven “scored” an amazing angel…..and we are grateful to have had our paths cross. Sending hugs to Georgia and family.
Amy Tiggleman & Sheri Goddard
October 1, 2022 at 8:47 pm
Georgia & family,
Roger was always like a second dad to me.
Often times I refer to him as “Dad” when he would stop into the store….on his day off….just to see how things were going.
I loved talking sports with him. I don’t think we ever left a sport out.
A life well lived by a wonderful man &
I will always remember him fondly.
My thought, prayers and sincerest sympathy go to each one of you.
October 1, 2022 at 11:13 pm
Georgia, Marc, and Marcy-
I was so very sad to hear about Roger when my mom shared the news. So many fond memories shared with your family. Roger was always so energetic and welcoming. He loved to initiate conversation, and was genuinely interested in the happenings of Otsego Public Schools. He was always so supportive. I cherish my memories at Little John Lake, and Newmans Department Store. Your family will be in my prayers.
October 1, 2022 at 11:50 pm
Dear Georgia and family,
I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear Roger. He was always so nice to me when I came by the store and always so interested in me and my daughter. I will miss his smile and what a gentle person he was.
October 2, 2022 at 5:22 am
So sad, Roger was A good friend and neighbor.
Amy Sult Stevens
October 2, 2022 at 9:51 am
I am so sorry to hear of Roger’s passing, but what a wonderful life! Thinking of you all.
October 2, 2022 at 10:08 am
So sorry to hear about Roger, my prayers are with you and your family at this time.
Neil & Sue Browne
October 2, 2022 at 2:43 pm
Georgia, our thoughts are so with you right now. Our grief is the price of our love!
Roger’s obituary was fabulous. A true picture of his life
Larry E Collier
October 2, 2022 at 5:40 pm
Georgia and family,
Sorry for your loss. Roger was an asset to the community. Thank yo for listing Otsego Public Schools Foundation for memorials.
October 3, 2022 at 10:07 am
So sorry for your loss, Margaret. Sorry to have missed class of 1959 gathering.
Sam E. & Char Williams
October 3, 2022 at 12:00 pm
We are sorry for your loss of Roger whom I graduated with from Allegan High School in 1953. He was an outstanding athletic as was mentioned in his obituary. Having played sports with him (football, basketball & track), he put me to shame.
May your many happy memories of him bring you and your family comfort at this time. – Sam E. Williams
Diana Nash Purl
October 3, 2022 at 12:12 pm
Margaret I am so sad to hear of Roger’s passing. The obit is wonderfully written. Great memories from high school and Little John Lake.
Some of the class of ‘59 saw him and chatted awhile when we accidentally both had class reunion luncheons at the same place.
Blessings on you all.
Jeanne and Dave Myers
October 3, 2022 at 8:50 pm
Dear Georgia and family, we are so sorry to hear of your loss. Roger was never tiring, always working on something and ready to help any time. May your wonderful memories stay with you and may our Lord wrap His arms around you all and give you peace.
Cass and Scott Boyce
October 3, 2022 at 11:12 pm
Georgia and family. We will forever remember how Roger would talk to our boys when we would come into the Antique Store. They loved asking him questions. He was always so patient with them. Feel so blessed to have those special memories of that time!
October 7, 2022 at 6:22 pm
Thank you my dear art teaching colleague Cassandra. I appreciate your kind words. I do remember your sons coming in, and their keen interest in the outdoors, hunting and fishing I believe.♥️
Patti A Hewitt
October 4, 2022 at 5:59 pm
Dear Georgia and family,
Am so sorry to read about Roger. I too enjoyed shopping at all 3 of the stores in your family: Skogmo’s, Newman’s Dept. Store and the Otsego Antiques Mall. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you navigate the coming days, weeks and months. The most painful tears are not the ones that fall from your eyes and cover your face, but the ones that fall from your heart and cover your soul.
Hugs go out to you! Sincerely, Mrs. Jim (Patti) Hewitt
October 7, 2022 at 6:18 pm
Dear Patti, thank you so much for your lovely words of condolence. You are probably one of the few who remember Skogmos. Many customers thought my in-laws last name was Skogmo, but it was basically a wholesale co., part of the better known Gambles hardwares. We also have fond memories of your Jim, one of an extraordinary line of excellent band directors at Otsego High School starting with Zach Warren & Richard Swinsick.
Nancy and Gary Green
October 5, 2022 at 6:16 am
My heart aches for you and your family. He truly was one of a kind and will be missed.
What a homecoming for Roger though! I can only imagine the joy.
Love you and let us know if we can help with anything.
October 7, 2022 at 6:20 pm
Thank you so much dear cousins. Thank you for reminding me of the joy I’m imagining in Rogers new realm.♥️
Bryon an Kim Sheldon
October 5, 2022 at 8:59 am
Such a wonderful man, he touched so many lives in so many ways. He will surely be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of his family. Hugs to you all cuz
October 6, 2022 at 12:15 pm
May the good memories of your time together carry you through the days ahead. Take care of yourself Georgia.
October 9, 2022 at 9:40 am
Thank you Elaine, you have so recently been through the very same thing, Sending your kind thoughts back to you as well my friend.
October 7, 2022 at 7:59 pm
Growing up in Otsego, your store was a staple for soprts attire and personslized shirts, fun shoestrings and more… and Roger greeting you with that smile! I can still see it in my minds eye. ♥️ May your memories bring you Peace and Smiles- knowing he is now watching over you all. Love and Blessings to you all.
October 9, 2022 at 9:43 am
Thank you sweet Angela. I can remember your mom bringing you in to the department store and standing at the register paying for whatever she had found that day, and you just looking up with a sweet smile. Your mom introduced you to me as ‘her sunshine’. And you still love up to that name for so many people.
October 28, 2022 at 1:26 pm
What an inspiration Roger was! I’m so sorry to hear of his passing, and my thoughts and prayers go out to you Georgia and to your family.
May all of your happy and loving memories comfort you, and may all of your friends and family in our little town lift you up!
November 21, 2022 at 12:21 am
Great memories playing basketball with Roger in Germany while Serbian the Army.
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