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Josephine Newell

  • "Jo was a huge part of my life, an incredible wit, an..."
    - Priscilla Melchior
  • "Jo lived an amazing life and did things that many only..."
    - Julie Clark
  • "Staff and children of the Free Will Baptist Children's..."
    - Free Will Baptist Children's Home
  • "Dr Newell you will be missed by so many with your..."
  • "It is sad hear of the end of a medical legend. She started..."
    - Tim Smith

Josephine E. Newell, M.D.


Josephine E. Newell, M.D., 89, passed away Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at her home in Raleigh. She was born May 21, 1925, the youngest child of Dr. Hodge Albert Newell and Mary Hayes Newell. She graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from the School of Medicine at the University of South Carolina at the age of 16. Jo received her medical degree from the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland at age 21. Her internship was served in gynecology at Women's Hospital in Baltimore, followed by a rotating internship and residency training at Rex Hospital in Raleigh. Dr. Jo Newell next planned to be a Doctor of Internal Medicine. Consequently, in order to get experience in general medicine, she opened a solo practice in Family Medicine in 1951 in Bailey. She loved it and the people loved her. She maintained her practice until 1975. Dr. Newell did not hesitate to make house calls anywhere, day or night, but did have the reputation of being known to have carried a pistol with her when she went on such calls.

Throughout her long career of more than six decades, Dr. Newell has performed many selfless acts of public service and has received many honors and accolades. For seventeen years she gave her services free of charge to the Free Will Baptist Orphanage in Middlesex. Dr. Jo Newell served as the first female President to the N.C. Medical Society, 1981-1982. Later she served as President of the Organization of State Medical Association Presidents – a national organization. She was instrumental in the founding of The Country Doctor Museum which opened in Bailey in 1967.

Dr. Newell was President of the Museum Board of Directors from 1967 to 1987. She was also honored as Tar Heel of the Week by "The News and Observer" in January 1971.

She has headed private and state health care projects, including: Breast-Cancer Detection Demonstration, Duke University in the late 1970's; Title XIX Electronic Data System 1979 to 1982; and Medical Director of the N.C. Comprehensive Health Benefit Plan.

Her last appointment was Medical Consultant, Medical Peer Review for Disability Determination Services 1985 to 1990. In addition to her other accomplishments, Dr. Jo Newell is a published author. Her 1992 book "By Whose Hand" is a fact-based novel detailing the mysterious death of a young southern woman.

Dr. Newell is survived by three nephews who are very dear to her: Robert Clark, III of Angier, Al Zodum and John Zodum both of VA; several great nieces and nephews; a special great niece Reagan and a cousin Nancy Yarborough of Louisburg. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her brother: Hodge; sisters: Mary Sue Clark and Jane Zodum.

Dr. Josephine E. Newell was truly a person with deep concern and strong determination to make a difference whenever and wherever she had the opportunity to serve.

The family will receive relatives and friends from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, Sunday, July 13, 2014 at L. Harold Poole Funeral Service, 944 Old Knight Road, Knightdale, NC 27545. A graveside service will be held at 11:00 am, Monday, July 14, 2014 at Oakwood Cemetery, Louisburg.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Salvation Army or .

Condolences to the family may be sent to under Obituaries.
Published in The News & Observer on July 11, 2014
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