Heather Newsam wrote to MySaline about her father who passed away suddenly on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at age 78.
She describes “Wild Bill” Newsam as the wonderfully loud and joyful man who drove the 1960 Pink Cadillac in all the parades in downtown Benton. His funeral will be on Saturday, February 26th, but they also have a special tribute planned.
Heather explains, “Before the funeral we are going to take my dad on one last parade and cruise through downtown Benton.”
The family has invited members of his old car club to join the procession. The pink Cadillac will ride through downtown, with the hearse and a procession of old cars following.
See below for “Wild Bill’s” obituary and the 🎥 video of the classic car funeral procession through downtown Benton, Arkansas.
“We wanted to get the word out to anyone that loved seeing my dad and his pink Caddy in the parade and at local car shows to come wave to him one last time. He would love it!” said Heather.
The procession will leave Pinecrest Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. to head to downtown Benton. The plan is to circle the courthouse around 11:15 a.m. The family encourages anyone who knows “Wild Bill” or anyone who ever enjoyed seeing the pink Cadillac to come wave to him one last time.
@arkansasshelli #classiccar #classiccars #downtownbenton #bentonarkansas #funeralprocessions ♬ Those Oldies But Goodies (Remind Me Of You) – Nino & The Ebbtides
William Dee Newsam was born November 28, 1943, in Galveston, Texas to John W. Newsam and Mary M. Newsam (née Bowden).
Known as “Wild Bill” since high school with his red hair and big personality he was the life of any party.
During his time at Benton High School, he played baritone saxophone in The Southernaires jazz band and basketball for the Panthers and lived up to his nickname. He graduated with the class of 1961 from Benton High and moved to southwest Arkansas to pursue his Bachelor of Business Management at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. A proud Boll Weevil his entire life, Bill was also still active in his fraternity, Phi Lambda Chi.
Bill graduated U.A. Monticello in 1965 and went to work for the S.S. Kresge company, managing Kresge Five and Dime stores along the east coast. He went on to open and manage, S.S. Kresge’s larger retail store, K-mart for 25 years. Bill managed K-marts from Buffalo, New York, to Mobile, Alabama, and was happiest when he was on the P.A. system running the Blue Light Special, which gave customers in the store at that time special deals on merchandise. Bill left K-Mart in 1990 and moved home to Benton to be closer to his mother in the later years of her life.
Back in Arkansas, he wasted no time getting back into the retail business, opening and managing the Best Buy on Chenal Parkway in Little Rock and the original Best Buy in Sherwood. In 2010 he finally retired from retail and began enjoying his old cars, travelling, and his family full time.
Bill was a very active member and past president of the Dixie Car Club and you could see him driving his 1960 pink Cadillac in Saline County Fair Parades and Christmas Parades. Wherever he could show off his 1957 Chevy, 1958 Lincoln, and later his 1965 Mustang, the pink Caddy, or his most recent addition, a red Chevy hot rod, you would find him with the loudest voice and biggest laugh in the crowd.
He leaves behind two loving daughters, Wendy and Heather Newsam and two sons-in-law, Rus Russell and David Godfrey, who have very big shoes to fill. For the last 11 years the light of Bill’s life were his two granddaughters, Zola and Eliza, who adored their Pop Pop and will miss him desperately. He is preceded in death by his parents John and Mary Newsam and countless other relatives he has lost over the years. You can bet he is leading the party in heaven with them right now.