FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Eddie Belle Leavell Newport, the wife of a former administrator at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, died at the age of 93, Sept. 29. In 1941, she married John P. Newport, who joined the seminary’s faculty in 1952 and later served as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The daughter of Frank Hartwell Leavell and Martha Maria Boone, Eddie Belle was born on June 12, 1919, in Memphis, Tenn. She attended Ward-Belmont College (now Belmont University) and graduated with her bachelor’s from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., and she later earned a master’s degree in history from Texas Christian University.
Eddie Belle served faithfully in her church and taught for a time at the Edna Gladney Home (now the Gladney Center for Adoption) in Fort Worth and at River Oaks Baptist School in Houston. She also traveled around the world, leading groups to the Holy Land, India, New Zealand and China.
Eddie Belle was also devoted to her family. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband, as well as by her sister, Mary Martha Leavell and her brother, Frank Hartwell Leavell Jr. She is survived by her three children, Martha Newport Shimkus and husband Stan Shimkus; Frank Newport and wife Kim; and John Paul Newport Jr. and wife Polly King. She is also survived by six grandchildren—Nicholas Bailey; Christopher, Calvin, Sarah, Emily and Anna Belle Newport—and by her great-grandson, Emerson Bailey.
Funeral services will be held at Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 11 a.m. The burial will take place at Greenwood Memorial Park in Fort Worth. Family will receive friends at Thompson’s Harveson & Cole Funeral Home on Friday, Oct. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. Memorial contributions can be made to the Newport Foundation, c/o Larry Williams, 12800 Hillcrest Rd., #A224, Dallas, Texas, 75230, or to a charity of choice.