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Discovery True Colors Feb/March 2006

Dr. Norwyn Newby may have 25 successful years as a neuro-surgeon and a respectable position in the community, but his biggest accomplishment, he says, is 38 years of marriage to his wife, Barb. Despite the stress, high pressure and demands of such a career, Newby has steadily shaped his life into becoming an esteemed colleague, champion of charitable causes and loving husband and father. “For me I was trying to connect to all four parts of my life—my wife, my kids, my job and myself.”

After growing up in Portland, Newby spent over ten years in the Army. In 1980, he moved to Bend and has been grounded ever since. By that time he had already become a practicing doctor a practicing doctor, a career that left no room for dull moments. “I didn’t want the routine life, but after a while you get tired of all the emergency situations and want routine,” relayed Newby. He retired from his profession in 2002, but still remains active in the field.
He’s on the Expanding the Vision Capital Campaign Cabinet for St. Charles Medical Center and has been involved in the Central Oregon Leadership Council for the Oregon Community Foundation. In addition, he’s involved in the United Way Summit Society and serves on the Foundation Board of Directors for The Center, where he assists with high school injuries and accident prevention.

Serving on so many boards has allotted Newby fame for his legendary “Newby Moments,” or inspirational anecdotes. “For me personally, a lot of board meetings get wrapped up in the routine of going over finances, long-term goals, what kind of results are being achieved, and that always gets a little bit dry. A Newby Moment is to pull us back into what we were trying to accomplish in the first place.”

One Newby Moment in particular follows the story of a mother raising a difficult grandchild. The point of the story is that none of us have it all together, even when it comes to well-established campaigns and board meetings. These moments, according to those fortunate enough to hear them, may offer inspiration or even bring tears to the listener, but they always have an impact.

Newby recently turned 60, joining the wave of other boomers who achieved senior status. A generation ago, reaching that age meant retiring to a rocking chair, but Newby is following suit with today’s trend of opening new doors and maintaining a fresh perspective on life. “I think I’m trying to let go of the horizon, or what’s in store for the future. I’m trying to live more in the moment, but I’m looking for opportunities to find what the next piece of the puzzle will be,” he said.

Q What is your favorite fitness routine? My favorite fitness routine is an hour in the gym or 20 mile bike ride 4-5 days a week.

Q What is your idea of a fabulous meal? A fabulous meal is located outdoors with wonderful flavors and sharing it with my wife after a day of having fun.

Q If you could come back to life as any person, animal or thing, what or who would that be? If I could come back and experience someone’s life it would be Rumi.

Q What is the thing you know most about? The thing that I believe I know the most about is myself.

Q Where is the best place to vacation? The best vacation place is Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef

Q What would be your recipe for a long life? The best recipe for a long life is to live your life today as if you will be dead tomorrow. “Life is not about you but rather you are about life.”

Q Whose book could you not put down recently? The most recent book of interest is C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed.

Q Who are your heroes in real life? My heroes in real life have been my patients who have shown me how to persist and believe in themselves when there is nothing but hope to lead them on.

Q Which talent would you most like to have? A talent I would like to have is to play a musical instrument

Q What is your secret hobby? A secret interest is the enneagram from the Sufi religion.

Q What is your greatest regret? The greatest regret I have is not knowing my parents at a deeper level and their personal story better.

Q What is the best thing about Central Oregon? The best of Central Oregon is the people who care about Central Oregon and who are striving to improve the community.

Q Who or what inspires you the most? William Stafford the poet inspires me the most as it relates to asking the right questions.

Q What is your biggest flaw? My biggest flaw is ambition.

Q What is your greatest asset? My biggest asset is ambition.

Q On what stereotype would you want to set the record straight? One stereotype that I have heard is that I appear relaxed when in reality I’m very anxious.

Q What has been your biggest accomplishment? My biggest accomplishment is being married 38 years to my first wife.

Q What is the one thing you are grateful for today? I’m grateful today to be an American living in a democracy where I and the community struggle daily to make the decisions to create a better nation.

Q What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger? I wish I knew when I was younger the importance of accepting constant change in one’s life and in the world.

Q What do you most value in your friends? Forgiveness is what I value most in my friends.

Q What is your motto? My motto is “Patience and Kindness” since my ambition lacks those qualities.

Q What is your biggest complaint about today’s politicians? My complaint with politicians is that they struggle with being authentic and sharing their “true colors” of what they really think. Speaking the full truth is very hard for them to do.

Q What’s the greatest invention in your lifetime? The greatest invention of my time is the MRI scanner.

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