Dorothy Newman passed away on Dec. 19, 2009 from congestive heart failure and pneumonia, at Hope Hospice in Fort Myers. She was 96.
She was born in New Haven, Ct. in 1913, graduated from Connecticut College in 1933, and earned a Ph.D in Sociology from Yale University in 1937.
Dr. Newman became a senior economist with the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., where she wrote a series of studies analyzing the characteristics of the workforce in a number of industries and later concentrated on the demography of poverty in the United States as well as the economic conditions of African-Americans. She ended her employment with the U.S. Government in 1968 to establish the National Urban League’s first research department under the direction of Whitney Young.
In the mid-1970s, Dr. Newman led the social research segment of the Ford Foundation’s Energy Policy Project, producing the first national survey of American households’ energy usage, later conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy.
After vacationing in Bermuda for many years with her husband, they moved there in 1976, where Dr. Newman taught Sociology at Bermuda College. She also prepared the analyses of Bermuda’s 1970 and 1991 Census data, both published by Bermuda’s Ministry of Finance. She and her husband returned to the U.S. in 1978.
In 1984, after moving to Sanibel, Dr. Newman became the island’s first director of its newly created below-market-rate housing (BMRH) program to benefit Sanibel’s local workforce. She held this position for eight years, well into her 80s, and was responsible for the constuction of 39 BMRH units.
Dr. Newman and her husband, Sandy, a retired physicist, moved from Sanibel in 1996 and settled first in Cape Coral, and then in 1999 at Cypress Cove in Fort Myers. From the mid- to the late 1990s, she served on the Board of Directors of the Florida branch of the Volunteers of America. Her husband died in 2006.
She leaves a son, Carl, a daughter, Martha, and a granddaughter, Meredith, all of whom live in the Washington, D.C. area.