Earlier this month, the Morristown Community said farewell to one of its most community-oriented volunteers, Lynn Patterson Newman, a woman who worked tirelessly to positively impact the community she loved.
One of the founders of the original Girls Club of Morristown (now Girls Inc. of Hamblen County,) Lynn helped bring the program to life for girls in 1972. Through the next 50 years, she would stay involved with Girls Inc.,
serving numerous terms on the Board of Directors as a member, committee chair and President, and in 2012, she entered the Girls Inc. Women’s Hall of Fame. Lynn was instrumental in designing the November Celebration of Women event, a fun and intimate gathering spotlighting food, fellowship, and raising funds for Lakeway Area girls.
When asked about her relationship with Lynn, Executive Director Lise Bender replied, “Lynn was the Board President who hired me. Little did I know at the time what a great friend, mentor, and working partner Lynn would become to me. She was an absolute champion for girls.”
“Lynn always felt there was equal need for her voice on our Board and for her presence as a volunteer in our program,” said Bender. “Even if that meant riding a bus daily as a chaperone, she valued any time spent with girls, and as a retired educator she knew the value of a sympathetic adult at the end of a rough school day.” In fact, Lynn often worked as a polling volunteer on local election days and loved talking to girls about the meaning of giving back through civic service to their community and by voting.
In 1969, Della Jeffers Medlin recruited Lynn to the Pilot Club, which began her decades of service to her community. Lynn served in many leadership roles in the Pilot Club organization. She was the State Outreach Coordinator in 1980-1981, Projects Coordinator in 1983-1984, Lieutenant Governor in 1984-1985, and Governor in 1985-1986.
In addition to the founding committee for Girls Club, Lynn also served on the committee that started the Senior Citizens Center when it was in the downstairs of the Morristown Hamblen Library in 1970.
During the months ahead of the Center’s opening, Lynn could be found with a broom and mop bucket, getting the area ready for seniors to gather and fellowship. She recently joined the Board of the Senior Citizens Center in 2021. Director Valerie Farmer said, “Lynn had so many great ideas and was excited to get involved with us. We did not know her long, but we were honored to know her for the time that we did. She will be missed by all of us.”
In addition, Lynn served at The Rose Center for the Arts. “Lynn was devoted to helping others and improving the quality of life in her community,” said Beccy Hamm, Executive Director of the arts organization. “Rose Center held a special place in her heart, and she contributed countless volunteer hours to make it the best it could be. She will be sadly missed by her Rose Center family.”
“Lynn Newman has left such a legacy. Not just with Girls Inc. but with so many organizations and individuals in our community,” said Bender of Girls Inc. “Although it is so hard to say goodbye, we’ve had so much joy in our time with her.”
Pictured is Alex Haley, author of Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X speaking with former Girls Inc. director Diana Steinfield-Hicks and Board Members at the Girls Inc. Annual Meeting in 1989.
In this month's edition of "Where Are They Now?" we are highlighting past Board President Peter Barile. Pete is the President of Daniel Paul Chairs in Morristown and served on the Girls Incorporated, known then as the Girls Club, board in the late 80s-early 90s.
When asked why he got involved with Girls Incorporated, Pete shared, “Well, I have a daughter and as a father, I wanted the girls in our community to have access to opportunities like my daughter had. This was the only place for young women to gather and I wanted to help the organization be successful so that the girls could grow up to be successful.”
Pete served as Finance Chair before serving as the Board Chair and was responsible for bringing the critically acclaimed author Alex Haley to our 1988 annual meeting. Haley authored Roots: The Saga of an American Family and The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley.
We are thankful for past and present Board members who have given girls opportunities to meet people like Alex Haley, author Crystal Senter-Brown (who also happens to be a Girls Inc. Hamblen Alumna), Edie Wadsworth, Pat Summit, and so many other inspiring women and men.
If you are a past Board member or president, please contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-581-4430. We would love to extend our gratitude in person at an upcoming Founder's event.