B.P. Newman

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Bernard Pearce "Bob" Newman
Born (1927-12-12)December 12, 1927
Red River County
Texas, USA
Died October 25, 2008(2008-10-25) (aged 80)
Laredo, Webb County, Texas
Residence Laredo, Texas
Nationality American
Occupation Businessman; developer
Spouse(s) Peggy Jean Behelar Newman
Children

Joel P. Newman (1951–2008)[1]
Nancy Newman de Anda
Mark S. Newman

David Newman

Bernard Pearce Newman (December 12, 1927 – October 25, 2008), usually known as B. P. Newman or Bob Newman, was a business entrepreneur, developer, civic leader, and philanthropist in Laredo, Texas. Newman Elementary School in Laredo is named for him.

Early years[edit]

Newman was born in Red River County in northeast Texas to Thomas Newman and Veda Newman Scotti (1907–1995).[2] While attending college in Dallas, he met Peggy Jean (née) Behelar (born 1932). They wed in 1950 and during their fifty-eight year marriage had four children.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist[edit]

In 1951, Foremost Dairies was then the third largest dairy cooperative in the United States.[3] In 1964, Newman purchased the Foremost distributorship in Laredo, the largest city in South Texas. From his initial capitalization of the Laredo Foremost distributorship, he launched B. P. Newman Enterprises and built a business empire of restaurants, subdivisions, apartments, and ranches.

Newman Elementary School at 1300 Alta Vista Drive in the Valle Alto subdivision, one of dozens of public schools in Laredo, is named for businessman B.P. Newman (1927–2008) and his wife, the former Peggy Jean Behelar, who donated the land for the school.
Front entrance to Newman Elementary School in Laredo
Since her husband's death, Peggy Newman of Laredo has run their company operations (2015 photo).

B. P. Newman Enterprises eventually brought the Church's and Popeye's fried chicken franchises to Laredo. By 1989, Newman owned five Popeye's franchises in Laredo and Austin, Texas, all sixteen Church's outlets in El Paso and planned to build an additional ten Popeye's.[4] In 1990, Newman and architect Jack Rice Turner developed a 10-story, 46-unit building in Corpus Christi, known as the Twin Dolphins, then the third high-rise condominium in that city.[5] In 1991, Newman was a significant Popeyes and Church's franchisee, having forty-one stores, primarily Church's, in El Paso, Laredo, and the Shreveport, Louisiana, market.[6] By 2004, Newman was a top contributor to the Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits restaurant chain and was one of only two worldwide Popeyes restaurant franchisees to receive Popeye's Gold Plate Award, the most important award given by Popeyes management.[7]

Newman also owned ranches, apartments, and office buildings in Laredo, El Paso, Marshall, Longview, the Rio Grande Valley, Las Cruces, New Mexico,[8] and Shreveport. He developed the Laredo neighborhoods of Chaparral, Vista Hermosa, and Sierra Vista.[9] During his lifetime, Newman donated the land for two Laredo schools: Newman Elementary School at 1300 Alta Vista Drive in the Valle Alto subdivision off McPherson Road, the Dr. Sigifredo Perez Elementary School at 500 Sierra Vista. The Newmans launched the first lot for Habitat for Humanity in Laredo. He gave the land too for the B. P. Newman Park and the B. P. and Peggy Newman Recreation Center in Laredo.[9]

Death[edit]

Newman died at Laredo Medical Center of complications from long-term Alzheimer's disease. Ronald Belford "Ron" Scott, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Laredo from 2002 to 2012, of which Newman was a member, recalled that the businessman

"helped a lot of kids go to college through the B.P. Newman Scholarship Fund at Texas A&M International University and provided for others in need. B. P.'s and Peggy's example of love and sacrifice is noticeable. His was a life reflective of one lived out by Jesus Christ."[10]

At Newman's funeral, Javier de Anda, vice president of B. P. Newman Investments and Newman's son-in-law, read from a letter:

"B.P., many of us gather here as a testimony to how much you've helped them. We will feel your loss in countless ways. For those of us here strong in faith, we know our loss is merely temporary. B.P., we thank God for your presence in our lives."[10]

Grave of B.P. Newman at Laredo City Cemetery

Newman is interred in the Masonic section at Laredo City Cemetery.[10] After his death, his wife Peggy became the chief executive officer of B. P. Newman Investments.[9] In 2012, Peggy Newman was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Laredo Gateway Rotary International.![11]

Laredo leaders laud Newman[edit]

The Laredo political leadership lauded Newman. In a statement to the Laredo Morning Times, Texas State Representative Richard Pena Raymond recalled Newman

"one of the great giants of Laredo. He was a great entrepreneur and has helped expand our economy and create a vibrant city. We will always look back at what he did to build our city economically. Mrs. Newman is a pillar; we love her and our hearts go out to her and her family." State Senator Judith Zaffirini of Laredo called the Newmans "Laredo's first power couple."[12]

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar of Laredo told the

Laredo Morning Times that Newman was "an excellent business person [who] cared a lot for Laredo. . . . I believe Bob's spirit will live on. . . . He always had a big smile, kind word ... always had the right thing to say. He was a kind, noble man." Mayor Raul G. Salinas called Newman "a true gentleman, a man who cared a lot for Laredo and cared for the community. He gave so much of himself. His generosity has helped many organizations throughout our city. He will always be remembered as a man with a big heart."[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rootsweb Social Security Death Index search for Joel Pearce Newman. Retrieved on 5 November 2008.
  2. ^ Rootsweb Social Security Death Index search for Veda Scotti. Retrieved on 5 November 2008.
  3. ^ Karg, Pamela J. (June 2000). "Pages from the Past: Foremost farms traces its name to J.C. Penney". United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD). USDA. Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008. Foremost Dairies was the third largest dairy company in the world by 1951. 
  4. ^ Brooks, Steve. (September 23, 1989) The Times-Picayune Copland's Debt Plan Counts on Franchisees. Section: CC; Page C1.
  5. ^ Dinae S. Morales, "It's all about the view. Condo has been haven for couple who once owned Luby's location", Corpus Christi Caller-Times, February 25, 2007, Sunday Homes Secdtion, accessed November 8, 2008
  6. ^ Hughlett, Mike (March 3, 1991). "Copeland Would Take Flavor With Him". The Times-Picayune. pp. G1.  |section= ignored (help)
  7. ^ Libby, Melissa (April 12, 2004). "Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits Recognizes Top Franchise and Supplier Performers at Annual Conference". PrimeZone. Retrieved 8 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "B P Newman Investment Co (Church's Chicken)". Manta.com mirror of Dun & Bradstreet content. ECNext Inc. 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008. 
  9. ^ a b c "Bob P. Newman, 80, of Laredo, passes away at Laredo Medical Center", Laredo Morning Times, October 27, 2008, accessed November 8, 2008
  10. ^ a b c "Newman". Laredo Morning Times. 30 October 2008. p. 1. 
  11. ^ Laredo Morning Times, November 10, 2012, p. 14A
  12. ^ a b Rutland, Joe (28 October 2008). "Love flows for Newman". Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved 8 November 2008.