George Newmyer, a lifelong Adventist educator, passed away in his sleep on February 21 at his home in Broad Run, Va. He was 87 years old. With more than 50 years of service in Adventist education, Mr. Newmyer, as his students called him, loved showing the love of Jesus to his school community.
“Mr. Newmyer is hands down the best principal I’ve ever had,” shared Lejone Morris, Newmyer’s student from 1989-1996 at Long Beach Adventist School. “He really loved his job, and it showed. I can still see his dazzling smile and cheerful disposition that would greet us during morning assemblies.”
Newmyer began his career with five years of service in Colorado. After serving for 16 years in the Kentucky Conference, five years in Florida, and three years in Michigan, he spent his final 26 years in the Southern California Conference, where he was principal of Long Beach Adventist Elementary and, later, P.E teacher at San Fernando Valley Academy.
Known for his guitar playing, love of sports, and Bible trivia games, Newmyer was always a positive personality at school. Remarkably, even in his mid-70s, he was able to be out in the field with his P.E class, pitching for a softball game or throwing football passes to kids.
“His ministry was deeply relational, and he was a friend I could speak with all through high school on the phone, even though he was my elementary school principal,” said Sam Chung, Newmyer’s student from 1984-1988. “I remember bowling with him and listening to all his stories.”
Newmyer never wanted to quit working at school. Defying age and retirement, he served as long as possible, until it was finally necessary to move to Virginia to be with family. Even then, he would talk of going back to work if possible.
An avid bowler and golfer, many a principal or superintendent can remember having a golf game with Newmyer or challenging him in a bowling match. The outcome was most often defeat. He once bowled a 272.
Teachers at his schools would look to his leadership for weekly assemblies and chapels. Every year Newmyer would write a theme song for the school to sing in chapel. Songs like “Uncle Noah’s Ark” and “You Can Make a Difference” continue to live on in students’ memories.
George Newmyer leaves behind a legacy of service, love of family, and most importantly, faithfulness to God. He is survived by five children, 14 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.