Bobby Newman found his calling when he was 4-years-old. He’d pile scrap wood from home construction sites in his Sunset Park neighborhood of South Tampa into his red wagon and then sell it door-to-door. At 10, shortly after his mother took him and his older brother Eric to the family’s J.C. Newman Cigar Company factory in Ybor City, he witnessed a man in Miami purchasing a box of cigars – the same brand he just saw being made in his family’s factory. Something clicked in him. Bobby recalls. “At that moment, I knew I wanted to be in the selling end of our cigar company.”
Bobby loves to tell stories, whether they be about the cigar business his grandfather founded in 1895 in Cleveland, or about the Cigar Family School the Newmans and their partners, established in the Dominican Republic, or about the Paws for Patriots program he helped build with the Southeastern Guide Dogs, to provide guide, therapy, and PTSD dogs to injured veterans. Telling stories is part of selling, he says, whether it’s raising money for a charity or selling a product, and when someone says yes, “you get a tremendous feeling of satisfaction of helping those less fortunate.”
The Newman family has been saying yes to St. Joseph’s for three generations. It started when grandfather J.C. needed care shortly after he moved the family from Cleveland. Then, Bobby’s father and long-time St. Joseph’s Hospital board member, had open heart surgery that extended his life by a decade. His sister-in-law received treatments for breast cancer, and his mother had several operations at St. Joseph’s. Additionally, the entire fourth generation of the Newman family was born at the hospital.
“When you’re going through a traumatic event or an exceptionally happy event with your family, you remember the experience and the doctors and nurses,” Bobby says. “That’s what got me hooked on St. Joseph’s, and that’s what keeps me there.”
A gift from the Newman Family Foundation has been recognized in the new tower at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital.