Kimberly Bowman Newlen
Kimberly Bowman Newlen, 57, died Feb. 8 at her Richmond, Va., home, surrounded by loved ones, after a gracious and courageous 7-month battle with stage 4 metastatic metaplastic breast cancer. Formerly of Pendleton and Gaffney, S.C., Kim was predeceased by her mother, Maxine, and her father, Claud. Survivors include her husband of 28 years, Mark Newlen, and their 22-year-old daughter, Kali Sutton Newlen, a senior at James Madison University; sister Shawn Bowman-Hicks (husband Charles B. Hicks) of Winston-Salem, N.C.; her nephew Elias; and her brother, Ryan June Bowman of Seneca, S.C. (wife April Bowman) and her niece Claire Bowman of Charlotte, N.C.
Kim - a wife, mother, ministry leader, former school teacher, author, motivational speaker, inventor, and Guinness World Record holder - was founder and president of Sweet Monday, an international nonprofit women's creative evangelism ministry. Kim has been featured in media such as Today's Christian Woman, Just Between Us, Family Circle, Lead Like Jesus, Moody Radio's Midday Connection and Chris Fabry Live, The 700 Club, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
As a breast cancer survivor, Kim also was a cheerleader for women battling the disease. She developed and patented a postsurgical camisole called Look Better Than You Feel and established a program for gifting the camisoles to patients undergoing treatment. While Kim wears many different hats, the most recognizable is her "Miss Tea Party" hat. With Sweet Monday, she set a Guinness World Record in 2005 by gathering 7,250 people together for the World's Largest Tea Party at the University of Richmond's Robins Center.
Kim earned her undergraduate degree from Erskine College and her masters in special education from Clemson University. She served on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ at U.Va.
Many of Kim's experiences and anecdotes have been chronicled in a book published by Tyndale House last September: The One Year® Sweet and Simple Moments with God Devotional®. The book, her passion for the last several years of her life, has become her legacy. Endorsements include Kim's friends, such as Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager; and Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, 2014 Super Bowl champions.
It's impossible to fully capture in the confined columns of a newspaper the too-short life of a remarkable woman who lived without boundaries and with a boundless enthusiasm for Jesus Christ. She once said, "I think I'm leading my pink purpose-driven life every day."
A sweet celebration of Kim's amazing life will be held at West End Presbyterian Church, 9008 Quioccasin Road in Richmond, Va., February 11 at 4 p.m. In honor of Kim, please wear pink!
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Sweet Monday, which has as its mission "reaching out to women one sweet invitation at a time for Christ." Gifts in memory of Kim may be sent to:
1006 Pump Road
Richmond, VA 23238
Sweet note from Kali:
My mom had the biggest heart. She taught us to celebrate everything, to live without regrets, to forgive quickly and to love deeply. Our lives are sweeter because of how she's inspired us, encouraged us and brought us closer to our Savior. With her sweet Southern charm, her radiant smile and joyful spirit, she perfectly embodies the characteristics of a Proverbs 31 woman. Not only is she a Richmond "Hometown Hero," but she's our hero and always will be. As my mom would say, Be Sweet and Say Your Prayers.
Joseph W. Bliley Funeral Home, Central Chapel
3801 Augusta Avenue Richmond, VA 23230
Published in The Greenville News on Feb. 11, 2014