We at the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Walter Newman on December 8 at his home in San Francisco. He was 91.
As a highly active leader of civic and cultural organizations, Mr. Newman founded and served as president of the National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF) in San Francisco after his son, Robert, died as a result of a brain tumor. In 2008, NBTF merged with the Brain Tumor Society to become the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), where he later served on the board.
“He was a remarkable man who never made an enemy, and he was known for his smile,” Ellen Magnin Newman, his wife of 62 years, was quoted as saying in the December 9 obituary notice in the San Francisco Chronicle.
A leading San Francisco businessman, Mr. Newman also served as president of the San Francisco Planning Commission, the Redevelopment Agency, and the Fine Arts Museum. He was a member of the boards of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, and the Board of Governors of the University of California, San Francisco.
During World War II, US Army Captain Newman led infantry troops during the invasion of Normandy and was awarded the Purple Heart after he was wounded in July 1944 during a battle near St. Lo. In 2009, on the 65th anniversary of D-Day, France awarded him its highest honor, the Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur.
His service, compassion, and dedication to the brain tumor community will be one of the many legacies for which he will always be revered and remembered. His presence in the brain tumor community grew to the broadest sense of purpose, and the entire community will miss one of its most charismatic advocates ever.