It is with great sadness we announce the passing of a pillar of our community, Charles Raleigh Newman, as he passed Sunday, June 13, 2021.
Born in Big Lake on Apr. 30, 1930, to parents Eulice Newman and Eva Faulk, Raleigh Newman was raised in great part by his grandparents, Semar “Poleet” and Frances Hebert Faulk. He was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith.
Of his many stories that he would so willingly share with those in his presence were memories of growing up at Big Pasture – picking cotton as a young child to help with family income. It was at an early age in those cotton fields that he determined he would never be a burden, either physically or financially to his grandparents. This set his life on a path of excellence and achievement, both scholastically and professionally.
He credited his grandfather, who introduced him to hunting at an early age, not only as a source of food for the family and a meager income, but as a sport that he would come to embrace all of his life.
It was through the influence of his grandfather that Raleigh began making his own duck calls – eventually joining hands with his cousin, Dud Faulk, who began the business of Faulk’s Game Calls.
His early childhood education would be gained at a small school in Big Lake. Through a series of events in his life, he would attend Landry High School for a brief period. He completed his high school education graduating in 1948 graduating as Valedictorian at Gulf Coast Military Academy at Gulfport, Miss.
That fall, he entered LSU but later dropped out to marry the former Mary Nell Richard of Sweetlake at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in Big Lake. Together they had two children, Mary Ellen and Charles Raleigh Newman, Jr. “Chuck”.
For a while, odd jobs included working for Coca Cola Bottling and in the meat department of A & P Grocery Store. Wanting a better life for his family at that time of a wife and two children, Raleigh worked as a shift worker at Cit-Con for 13 years. It was during the last part of those 13 years, while working at Cit-Con, that he began and completed his pre-law studies at McNeese State University.
For three years he and his first wife, Nell, owned and operated “Raleigh’s Sports Haven” at the corner of East College and Ryan Street. He would sell out to enter McNeese.
Holding a full-time job didn’t hinder his formal education as he was a McNeese honor student who maintained a straight “A” average and was on the Dean’s list. Enrolling for four major courses by special permission because three courses were considered maximum load for summer session students, he finished in June 1961, with three “A”s and a “B” despite his employment and the responsibilities of a family.
Completion of studies to become a lawyer would be delayed due to the long illness of his beloved wife, Nell. Having been diagnosed with cancer, Raleigh spent countless hours at the McNeese library to learn all he could about her disease.
Armed with knowledge, he sought out trusted and experimental medical treatments of that day for a cure. Even so, Nell would contract hepatitis and have her right leg and half of her right hip amputated. She would succumb to cancer at the age of 32 on Sunday, June 16, 1963.
Left with two children to raise, he would marry the former Myrna Reeves, who is the mother of Bobby and Wade Wall.
Encouraged by two close family friends who were attorneys, Larry Roach and Nathan Cormie, he enrolled at LSU Law School in the spring of 1964. Determined to pursue his law degree, the family moved to Baton Rouge. It was there that his son, Johnny Newman, was born.
He graduated from LSU Law School in May 1967, just days apart from Ellen graduating from high school, and received his Juris Doctor on Dec. 7, 1968.
Raleigh was deservedly proud that he managed to graduate from LSU Law School without any student debt, having worked his way through school and scholastic achievements.
Upon graduation, Raleigh moved back to Southwest Louisiana with his family and began his successful law career in Lake Charles.
Wanting to further a life dedicated to service, he would eventually seek the office of District Attorney of Calcasieu Parish.
He would later marry the former Barbara Ann Fielder. Their ceremony was performed by Judge Henry Yelverton but would later be blessed in the Catholic church. Together they welcomed friends and family into their home.
Barbara and Raleigh built and operated Black Lake Hunting and Fishing Lodge in Hackberry for several years and also owned and operated Star Concrete Pumpers in Sulphur.
Following in the footsteps of his mother, Raleigh and Barbara dealt in real estate developing Crestview and East Park Subdivisions. He and Barbara also owned and managed various rental properties over the many years together and currently own and operate Twin Oaks Mobile Home Park in Carlyss.
Raleigh’s hobbies included hunting, fishing, boxing, cooking, horse racing, politics, real estate development and most of all, helping the less fortunate – wherever he was.
During his lifetime, Raleigh accomplished so many feats. Among many local, regional and state titles, he won the World Champion Duck Calling contest at the International Rice Festival in Crowley and World Champion Goose Calling contest at Missouri Valley, Iowa, all in the same year.
Each netted him a $1,000 prize. To his knowledge, he was the only sportsman to hold both these titles.
His prowess with ducks and geese caught the attention of CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) and in December of 1959, he was featured on the network’s nationwide program “To Tell The Truth”. Stumping the celebrity panel because they said he was too young to have been able to win those titles, he received another $1,000 reward as well as a four-day all expenses trip to New York City. He didn’t make it home with his $1,000 reward as it was stolen. As the show was live, it wasn’t until he was in his 80s that he would get to view a taping of the program for the first time.
During his years at LSU Law School, Raleigh participated and was a winner of the Robert Lee Tullis Moot Court competition for the year 1966-1967 wherein he participated with John Breaux, who would later serve in Congress.
He was made a member of the coveted Louisiana Chapter of the Order of the Coif on Apr. 22, 1967.
Raleigh was inducted into the LSU Law School Hall of Fame on Nov. 14, 1987.
He was admitted to practice as an attorney and counselor of the United States Supreme Court on June 26, 1989; he was also admitted to practice in the United States Courts of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; he also was admitted to practice in Eastern District of Texas and the Southern District of Texas, as well as Eastern District of Louisiana, Western District of Louisiana, and Middle District of Louisiana.
He was a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and the Phi Kappa Phi, Southwest Louisiana Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association.
One of the highlights in his professional career was working together with former Governor Edwin W. Edwards on a court trial.
Raleigh was admired for his many philanthropic endeavors over the years. It would take but just a phone call expressing a need and he was generous to give. He and Barbara supported the Calcasieu Parish Medical Society and Alliance with their sponsorship levels of the annual Black-Tie Gala benefitting the Calcasieu Community Clinic.
Those left to cherish his memory are his loving and devoted wife of 48 years, Barbara Fielder Newman; daughter, Mary Ellen Newman Montgomery (Buddy); stepson, Wade Wall (Terri); grandchildren, Sean Corbello, Steve Corbello, Hannah Newman, Jonathan Newman and Brent Newman; great-grandchildren, Steven Corbello and Addilyn and Brennan Newman; brothers, Curtis Newman and Terry Lynn Newman; and sister, Joyce Newman Cooper; sister-in-law, Gwen Fielder Vaughn; niece Kim Melton and nephew, Jack Melton (Sharon).
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Nell Richard Newman; sons, Chuck and Johnny Newman; stepson, Bobby Wall; brothers, Cliff Newman and Roland Newman; brother-in-law, Bill Vaughn; parents, Eulice Newman and Eva Faulk; and his stepmother, Sweet Newman.
Special gratitude to DeJuana Bellow, his devoted secretary for 51 years, who soon became family. In addition, a special recognition to Nevils LeBlanc for being a travel companion, care giver and loyal friend. Deep appreciation goes to Wade Wall for countless delicious meals, also being a travel companion and for always being there when needed. Heartfelt appreciation to true friends, Dr. Henry and Michelle Nguyen, who were available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to monitor Raleigh’s health as well as share in food and fellowship.
Serving as pallbearers are grandsons, Sean and Steve Corbello; stepson, Wade Wall and friends Nevils LeBlanc, Tody Roach and Mark Dartez.
Visitation was held at University Baptist Church on the corner of Lake and McNeese Streets in Lake Charles, on Wednesday, June 16, from 4-8 p.m. with a rosary to be prayed at 6 p.m. by Raleigh’s godson, The Very Rev. Edward J. Richard, M.S., V.F. Visitation will resume on Thursday, June 17, at 9 a.m. until time of service at 11 a.m. Reverends Jon Hair and Edward Richard will officiate. Interment will be at Highland Memory Gardens in Lake Charles.
The family is requesting that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the LSU Raleigh Newman Endowed Scholarship established in 2010 or to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Words of comfort to the family may be expressed at www.johnsonfuneralhome.net.