During breaks as finance director for the City of Oxford, Joseph “Joe” Newlin would take walks around Uptown and the surrounding neighborhoods, making note of any sidewalks in need of repair or alleys littered with trash.
“He had put in more steps than all of city hall combined,” Doug Elliott, city manager, said.
He was an avid gardener and loved nature. He even had a degree in botany from Miami University, where he graduated in 1982, before pursuing a second degree in accounting at Akron University.
Although Newlin was born in Akron, Ohio, he had lived in Oxford and served as finance director for the city since 2008, working closely alongside Elliott and City Council.
Over the years, Newlin won various awards for his financial reporting, often staying late to finish work.
Bill Snavely, mayor of Oxford, said if the information came from Newlin, he always knew it would be accurate.
“If Joe produced it, it was gonna be accurate down to the penny,” Snavely said. “He was meticulous and accurate and also happened to be just a fantastic human being.”
Kim Daggy, executive director of Enjoy Oxford, wrote in an email to The Miami Student that she would often correspond with Newlin about budget forecasting and financial questions for Enjoy Oxford. Although she only corresponded with Newlin occasionally, she wrote he was always professional, responsible and kind.
“My interactions with Joe were minor, but he made an impression on me, so I can only imagine the loss those who knew him best are experiencing,” Daggy wrote.
Newlin passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack on April 14 at the age of 64. Snavely said he was doing what he loved when he passed: going on a walk around Oxford. He is survived by his wife, Rachelle; his children, Ralph, Anna and Jack; his siblings, Rebecca and John Newlin; and various other in-laws, nieces, nephews and godchildren.
Elliott said that in addition to his job, Newlin was also passionate about his family and being involved in the community. He was a member of the Oxford Lions, The Oxford Men’s Club and The United Way. He also volunteered at other events around the city and his children’s school activities.
Over the years, Elliott and Newlin became close friends. When not in the office, the two worked on various personal projects or played golf in the Lions Club’s annual tournament.
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Although Newlin was a diligent and hard worker, his coworkers, family and friends remember him most for his kindness, even in minor interactions.
“Besides his professionalism and precise handling of all things accounting, I will remember Joe’s smile and hat strolling the streets of Oxford,” Daggy wrote. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and coworkers as they grieve his passing.”
A celebration of life for Newlin will be held on June 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Park.