The journey of life for Derrick Bryon Newburn began on November 14, 1966, in Malvern, Arkansas. He was the last born of four boys to Rev. Franklin D. Newburn and Brenda Hopkins Newburn. His parents taught him to adhere to high morals, as well as spiritual and educational values.
“Rick” as he was lovingly called, accepted Christ at a tender age and was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church Vine, where he served as a choir director, minister of music and as an associate minister.
He was educated in Hot Spring County and was a 1985 graduate of Malvern High School where he was a member of the school choir. He broadened his educational scope by receiving a Bachelors of Arts and the Master of Arts degree in mathematics. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. His passion for education was evident as he taught 7th grade mathematics at Jack Roby Jr. High School in Pine Bluff. He was a gentle giant whose energy was like a magnet that drew youth to him.
He answered his call to preach and accepted his first pastoral assignment in October 2010, at St. Clair Baptist Church in Okolona and remained until his passing. His favorite passage of scripture was the 27th Psalm. He taught Bible study faithfully, continued to attend Sunday school and worship services regularly until his health started to decline. He regularly attended the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and Congress. He was a Certified Dean of Christian Education with the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
Rick was a member of the Southwest District Association. He served as Vice-President of Section 1, Dean of Records of the Southwest District Congress of Christian Education, and director and member of the Southwest District Choir. His passion and enthusiasm for directing choirs and singing was woven into the fabric of his life. His raspy tenor voice was the perfect addition to any choir or lead.
Rick not only knew math, the bible and directing, but he knew his way around a kitchen. He loved baking, grilling and trying new cuisines as he traveled across the country. He was widely known for much sought after his peach cobblers, cookies, coconut cream pies, pineapple-coconut cakes, mini caramel cakes and banana puddings.
His pilgrimage was modest, but it was full and fulfilling. In his trials, he remained a tower of strength, hope and faith. On Saturday, September 17, 2022, in the comfort of his childhood home, he slipped the bonds of this life for a life in eternity. His independent spirit, iron will and strong character will never be duplicated, but will leave an impression on the lives of those he touched and enriched along this life’s journey.
Rick was preceded in death by his beloved father, Rev. Franklin D. Newburn who pastored Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Malvern; his aunts, uncles and cousins.
He leaves a lifetime of memories and laughs with his mother, Brenda Newburn; his brothers, Kenneth of Grand Prairie, Texas, Randal of Little Rock and Bernard and his wife, Sherylita of Portland, Ore.; several nieces and nephews. He also leaves an aunt, Maureen Newburn Owens; a special friend, Kimberly Gray; “The Team”, Marie McClain, Erica Cooper and Pastor Douglas “Doug” Jones Jr; a special cousin whom he loved as a brother, Minister Demond Newburn, as well as a caravan of cousins, friends, the Jack Roby Jr., High School, the Southwest District Association and the St. Clair Baptist Church families.
Bearers of the casket will be António L. Newburn, Reginald D. Bolden, Lamar K. Newburn, Timothy D. Newburn, Kolby O. Fenceroy Newburn and Kaden F. Fenceroy Newburn. Honorary bearers will be Angelo Newburn, Justin Murdock, Deacon John Smith, ministers and pastors of the Southwest District Association the faculty, students and staff at Jack Robey Jr. High School.
Visitation will be from 1-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, at First Baptist Church Vine in Malvern with an evening of music and tributes from 6-7 p.m. A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Bailey Auditorium-Malvern High School with Pastor C. Douglas Hart, officiating and Pastor OJ Newburn, eulogist. Interment will be at Perla Cemetery.