Thomas Newberry Sr.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A celebration of the life of Thomas Harlowe Newberry Sr., 75, of Arlington, Ga., was held Friday, June, 5, at Arlington United Methodist Church with internment at Oakgrove Cemetery in Arlington, Ga., with Pastors Debra Cone and Keith Cowart officiating.

Pallbearers were his grandsons, John Spence, John Gaines, Stuart Hathorn, Vic Hathorn, Jay Hathorn and Chase Brooks. Honorary pallbearers were all members of the Arlington United Methodist Men. A memorial service was also held on Saturday, June 6, in the Tabernacle at Camp Tygart in Ray City, Ga.

Mr. Newberry went to be with His Lord and Savior on June 1, 2009, at Calhoun County Memorial Hospital in Arlington. He was born on Nov. 5, 1933, in Arlington to the late John William and Bernice Johnson Newberry. He graduated from Arlington High School in 1950. Mr. Newberry studied a quarter at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College before moving back home and marrying his sweetheart, Ann Craft. Mr. Newberry loved sports and spent many years coaching baseball and softball teams. He had a love for all of God’s nature. Whether or not he was playing sports, hunting and fishing, or out in the woods, he was in his favorite spot. And any day spent on a tractor was a good day!

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In 1971, Mr. Newberry founded the Quail Country Hunting Lodge. In 1985, the original Quail Country Lodge was transformed into the vibrant ministry of Burning Bush, which he also founded. The Burning Bush came to him in two visions from the Lord. The first was while he was on a mission trip to Mexico in 1980.

“What was then a hunting lodge would become a Christian Renewal Center.” Further instructions came in 1984. “This is MY place! I will keep it. It will be called Burning Bush … a place where MY people, who are called by MY name, can be called aside … like Moses … to hear from Me, and receive MY instructions.”

He also served many years with Lifeline Ministries Inc., a Christian ministry devoted to missions and evangelism both here and in Mexico.

Mr. Newberry had a passion to preach and teach the gospel. After several years in the Lay Ministry, he entered full-time ministry in 1982 and later graduated from the Candler School of Divinity at Emory University through the Course of Study of Theology in 1992. He served many congregations in several capacities throughout southwest Georgia as a Methodist minister. Those congregations include Boston, Barwick, Oak Grove and Grooverville United Methodist churches; Forrest Street United Methodist in Valdasta, Sparks United Methodist in Sparks; Evelyn United Methodist in Moultrie; Camp Tygart in Ray City; Ray City United Methodist and Community United Methodist; Edison United Methodist and Vincent United Methodist; West Bainbridge United Methodist; Climax United Methodist and Cooks Union.

After returning to Arlington in 2000, he devoted the majority of his time to collecting things, spending time with his growing family, tending to Burning Bush Christian Renewal Center, Kairos Ministry, Walk to Eminaus and the Arlington United Methodist Church, where he was an active member.

Mr. Newberry’s love and devotion to his family was only surpassed by his love for his Lord and Savior. He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Ann Craft Newberry; two daughters, Debra Newberry Hathorn (Rodney) and Kay Newberry Brooks (Paschal); two sons, Thomas Harlowe Newberry Jr. (Joy) and Mark Gregory Newberry. He is also survived by grandchildren, Karie Spence (John), Stud Hathorn, Vic Hathorn, Jay Hathorn (Ashley), Chase Brooks (Elizabeth), Tiffany Gaines (John) and LeeAnn Brooks. Great-grandchildren include Avery and Grayson Spence.

Brothers and sisters include Allene and the late Hubert Ely, Bernice and Kenneth Craft, Albert and Judy Newberry, the late Olin and Barbara Newberry, Pat and the late Jon Newberry, the late Carolyn Melvin, Nell and the late Jack Newberry, Wayne and Olive Craft, Melvin and Betty Jean Craft, and Jeanene and the late Grady Shadburn. Mr. Newberry is survived by 34 beloved nieces and nephews.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Burning Bush Ministries, 585 Retreat Road, Arlington, GA 39813.