Delivering a smile
In memoriam Michael Newbold
Every day the driver on the Dryden route for Foodnet planned a new joke to deliver with a hot meal for 35-40 clients. He altered the joke to suit the client and carried cat treats in one pocket and dog treats in the other for all the pets on his route. He even had one for a pet skunk that would get so excited as he approached that he worried there might be an accidental spritz.
Michael Newbold studied engineering at Princeton before joining the army to work in Counterintelligence in Washington. After a degree from Michigan Law School, he worked on Wall Street for White & Case. From there he became an international lawyer for the Singer Company, tussling over the intricacies of Turkish law with lawyers in Istanbul, resolving long running cases in Brazil and working in Nigeria and India, where he adopted the local dress one afternoon when his Western business suit failed him.
A dozen years ago Michael moved to Ithaca where he worked in his retirement as a driver for Foodnet, delivering a joke with every meal. He said he tried to put a smile on each client’s face before he left. What few clients knew was that between deliveries he gave himself a dose of oxygen from the cylinder in his van to restore his strength for the next stop. Michael died last week after a long battle with interstitial lung disease, but the memory of his wit, intelligence and determination lives on.
He is survived by his wife Lilla and two children Sam and Sarah and two grandchildren.