Marie Phifer Newsom, 98, of Columbus, GA passed away Monday, May 8, 2023 at Columbus Hospice
Funeral services will be held 3:00 PM Friday, May 19, 2023 at First Baptist Church with Dr. Jimmy Elder and Rev. Nathan Tubbs officiating. The family will receive friends in the sanctuary one hour prior to the service. Interment will be held at Parkhill Cemetery following the service, according to McMullen Funeral Home and Crematory, 3874 Gentian Blvd, Columbus, GA 31907.
Born in Beaumont, TX to the late Aubrey Grady Phifer and Gladys Rush Phifer on April 28, 1925, Marie was orphaned by the age of 9. She and her younger brother were raised by their paternal aunts, Ann Sexton and Alda Phifer, in Bessemer City, NC. A graduate of Bessemer City High School, she earned her R.N. degree from Emory University in 1947 and worked as a surgical nurse at Emory University Hospital, where she met the love of her life, surgeon Dr. Bruce Cameron Newsom, whom she married in 1948 and moved with him to his hometown of Columbus, GA. She was actively involved with the Muscogee County Medical Auxiliary and Gentian Elementary PTA. When her husband divorced her in 1961, she lost not only her spouse but much of her social network. Then a single mother of four young children, she bravely forged a new life for herself, first working as a secretary at Columbus High School, and then as the first nurse for Columbus College, now Columbus State University. She later worked as a charge nurse for 12 years at West Central Georgia Regional Hospital, retiring in 1987. Not content to sit idle after retirement, she worked for several years as a paraprofessional at Blanchard Elementary.
A consummate storyteller herself, she cherished the arts in Columbus, regularly attending Springer Theater plays and events at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, as well as being a lifelong patron of the Columbus Symphony. She was an avid, superb bridge player, faithfully playing each week at the Fox Senior Center until COVID shut it down. She had a smile that no one could forget, a playful wit, and a keen sense of adventure that waned only when she was physically unable to travel. She was a longtime member of First Baptist Church and the Adult II Joy Sunday School Class, continuing to watch the Sunday morning service on TV when she could no longer attend in person. Marie’s greatest joy in life, and what she was most proud of, was her four children, and, over the years, her grandchildren and great grandchildren, especially loving the babies. She was integrally involved in all their lives, celebrating their accomplishments, supporting them through trying times, and reveling in their company whenever possible. She celebrated her 98 th birthday in style, just 10 days before she passed - alert, joyful, and thrilled to have family and friends there to celebrate with her.
She is survived by her four children, Cameron Railey (Jim), Gwyn Newsom, and Debra Freeman, all of Columbus, GA, and Bruce Newsom (Jenny) of Cumming, GA; 9 grandchildren, Brooke Phillips (Brian) and Brian Railey of Columbus, GA, Grady Bunn (Erin) of Atlanta, GA, Callie Lovvorn of Stamford, TX, Taylor Freeman (Jessica) of Waverly Hall, GA, Lesley Tubbs (Nathan) of Brooklyn, NY, Alicia Ray of Auburn, GA, Jay Swinks and Tyler Swinks (Brie) of Cumming, GA; 12 great-grandchildren, Lilly and Carter Phillips, Logan and Ben Metler, Morgan Acree, Tanner Freeman, Sophia, Caleb, and Margaret Tubbs, Addison Swinks, Wyatt and Emmett Swinks. She is also survived by her brother, A.G. Phifer (Cloie), beloved special cousins, Sam Smith (Veronica), Annette Stilwell, and Bob Howard (Ann), as well as numerous, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, PO Box 828, Columbus, GA 31902, www.firstbaptistcolumbusga.com, or Columbus Hospice, 720 Moon Rd, Columbus, GA 31909,
www.columbushospice.com. The family especially thanks the staff of Ridgecrest Rehab & Skilled Nursing Center for the excellent, compassionate, and loving care they provided our mother.
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