Stillwater News Press

May 23, 2013

Dr. Durward Earl Newsom


Stillwater NewsPress

— Dr. D. (Durward) Earl Newsom, age 94, of Stillwater, passed away on May 15, 2013, after a long battle with cancer.  Earl was best known as a writer and historian, but he was honored for many other achievements during his long career.

Earl was born on Jan. 9, 1919, to Jessie Earl and Ruth Louise Newsom in Drumright, attended Drumright High School and graduated in 1936.  Earl began his journalism career at this time, when his high school journalism teacher, who was part owner of the Drumright Journal, employed Earl as a reporter and sports writer when he was only 16.  Earl remained with the Journal for four years after graduation, becoming editor and then manager.

During World War II, Earl enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve, achieved the rank of Petty Officer First Class and was stationed at El Paso, Texas, and Treasure Island, Calif.  After the war, U.S. Congressman Lyle H. Boren  selected Earl as his chief administrative aide in Washington D.C.  After 18 months, Earl resigned from the Congressman’s staff to pursue his bachelor’s degree.

In 1948, Earl received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and business from Oklahoma A&M College.  He was named outstanding graduate for scholarship in journalism and chosen for membership in Phi Kappa Phi, an honorary scholarship fraternity.  While at Oklahoma A&M, Earl was the commercial manager of radio station KSPI. Earl then pursued a masters of science degree in journalism at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.  Upon graduation in 1949, Earl received the Harrington Memorial Award as the outstanding student in his graduate sequence. Earl taught journalism at Texas A&M College from 1949 until 1954.  In 1952 he received the Battalion Award for “teaching that requires maximum effort and at the same time maintains the students’ friendship and respect.”  During summers, he worked at the Stillwater NewsPress, filling in for vacationing staff members.

In 1954, Earl left Texas A&M to pursue a doctorate in education at Oklahoma State University.  Upon graduation, he joined the Lamar, Colo., Daily News as managing editor. In the fall of 1957, Earl accepted a position as a professor of journalism at the University of Maryland.  In 1975, the Maryland yearbook, The Terrapin, was dedicated to him, and in 1971, he received an award for Distinguished Service to the Press from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association.  While at Maryland, he worked part-time on the Washington Star copy desk, and wrote a monthly column for the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association newspaper.  Earl retired from the University of Maryland in 1979.

After retiring from the University of Maryland,  Earl was chosen by the National Newspaper Association to compile a book updating the community on the newspaper business.  At the age of 62, Earl wrote his first book, titled “The Newspaper, Everything You Need to Know to Make It in the Newspaper Business,” which was published in 1981 by Prentice-Hall.

Earl returned to Stillwater and authored nine books on the history of Stillwater, Payne County and Oklahoma.  These include two volumes on the Drumright oilfield, a history of the Cherokee Strip; Stillwater: One Hundred Years of Memories (1989) which was written for the Land Run Centennial; and Stillwater: A Cradle of Oklahoma History (2007) which was written for the Oklahoma Centennial.  His special historical articles have appeared in the Stillwater NewsPress and The Chronicles of Oklahoma. Earl worked closely with the Oklahoma Press Association and conducted extensive research into local histories.  His extensive collections of writings, papers and photographs were donated to the OSU Library Special Collections, the Sheerar Museum and the Drumright Oil Field Museum. Earl maintained an office at 408 S. Main for more than 30 years.  For many years, he was a member of the Stillwater Toastmasters Club, and was its president in 1984. Dr. Newsom was predeceased by his parents, two brothers, Roy Ray and Coy Lee, and his sister, Neva Mary.  Survivors include his sister, Bernice May, of Oklahoma City, nieces and nephews in Calif., Tenn., Ga., and Saumur, France.

At Earl’s request, no services are to be held, but rather Earl requested any gifts or donations be made to The Oklahoma League For The Blind.

Dr D. Earl Newsom’s published body of books:

The Newspaper, Everything You Need to Know to Make It in the Newspaper Business (1981)

Kicking Bird and the Birth of Oklahoma (1983)

Drumright! The Glory Days of a Boom Town (1985)

Drumright II – A Thousand Memories (1987)

Stillwater: One Hundred Years of Memories (1989)

The Cherokee Strip: Its History and Grand Opening (1992)

The Story of Exciting Payne County (1997)

Hilarious History: The Funniest True Stories and Legends of Stillwater and Payne County (1999)

Stillwater History: The Missing Links (2000)

Stillwater: A Cradle of Oklahoma History (2007)