Word came last week that a former pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Greensburg had died. Donald D. Newhouse died Aug. 30, 2019 at the age of 85. Newhouse was born in Soda Springs, Idaho, on Aug. 3, 1934, but spent his childhood in Cameroon, West Africa. His parents were missionaries in Cameroon for many years.
When he was ready for high school, he returned from West Africa to enroll in Lemoore High School in California. He then attended and graduated from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. After graduation he entered the Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. During the last year of attending the seminary he served as pastor for Forrest Hill Presbyterian Church in Decatur County, Indiana.
Soon after graduating from the seminary, he was chosen in 1960 to serve as pastor of First Presbyterian Church located on the northeast corner of the Courthouse Square in Greensburg. He later served as pastor of a church in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
He then began a 25 year career with Unisys Corporation, a military contractor, with headquarters in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. After he retired from Unisys in 1984, he served Lakeside Community Presbyterian Church in Lakeside, California, as a Pastor Associate.
While Newhouse was pastor here at the church in Greensburg the youth group, during the summer of 1960, made the film titled “Empty Shoes” which has been shown to several groups in Decatur County and other places including Colorado and Indianapolis. The film was written by Fred Craig who had filmed the Centennial in 1959, and Don Newhouse. About 20 youths took part in the production of the movie and four adult couples who were advisors.
Trish Ewing Bibler, now of Colorado Springs, Colorado, wrote her memories of those days while she was a high school student in Greensburg:
“Don Newhouse was a pastor at my home town church in southern Indiana when I was a young girl. His ministry in that capacity had a lasting touch in my life. Years later when I was married and lived in Colorado, we managed to connect while I was in California visiting family. Don met me for lunch and we shared wonderful memories. Shortly after that, he visited Greensburg for several days and reconnected with lifelong Christian friends – a wonderful friend from youth, her mother and other special people from Greensburg Presbyterian Church. Praise the Lord for these Christian friendships! Trish Ewing Bibler.”
Bob Siefker, now of Greenwood, who was also a high school student at GCHS and played the “kind of bad guy” in the movie, wrote the following:
“Don was Pastor of First Presbyterian in Greensburg, IN when I was a high school student. He was young, vibrant, and approachable. We (the teens) LOVED him!
Our youth group decided to make a movie during the summer of 1960. Don encouraged us in every way possible, appearing (as himself) in the film and narrating the story. What a great summer!
His love for us and enthusiasm was infectious.
Don raised a few eyebrows when he bought a white Pontiac convertible. The youth thought it was the coolest thing ever, but some of the older folks where not so enthusiastic!
In a moment of weakness, Don loaned me that car for the senior prom! He was very generous and trusting.
In the past 15 years (since I’ve retired) we have wintered in San Diego three times. All three times, we were able to get together with Don and his wife, Iris. Those times were precious and wonderful.
Don’s love for the youth in Greensburg is an important building block in my current Christian faith.
God put him in my life just when I needed him and I am very grateful he did.
I think he took great comfort in our visits in California, especially the last one when my best friend from high school (and the male lead in the movie “Empty Shoes””) Mike Ewing and his wife were able to join us. Rest in peace my friend. Bob Siefker.”
The service for Don Newhouse was at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 12, 2019 at Lakeside Community Presbyterian Church, Lakeside, California.