You may know one James Newman. You might even know two of them, but five James Newmans all from the same family might be more than you bargained for.
They range in age from 89 to 2, with a 67-year-old, a 44-year-old and a 22-year-old in the middle, and represent five generations.They all have the same first, middle and last names.
The oldest Jim Newman is known to all as “Pa.” He and wife Dolly moved to El Dorado County in 1989 from Fremont where he was a building contractor, following their daughter Barbara Atkins who had moved here a year earlier.
“We loved it,” said Dolly, “so we moved here too. All of us love it here.” They have a three-story house on seven acres in Placerville where the entire family gathers. Pa and Dolly have been married for 68 years. They have two sons, Jim II and Bob, who died in 1995, and two daughters, Nancy Smith of Brentwood and Barbara Atkins of Placerville.
Each James named his first son James, with the younger Jims honoring their grandfather with their choice. To differentiate each other, they use numbers. Jim II lives in Placerville on his parents’ property, helping to take care of them. Jim III lives in Fremont and Jim lives in Clear Lake with Little Jim, who is just 2 years old.
“Little Jim is one tough cookie and he thinks he’s the boss of all the Jim Newmans,” said Dolly. She said she never has problems with five Jim Newmans, though. “I just holler ‘Jim’ and the closest one answers, ‘Hey Ma, what do you want?’ and comes running. Thank God I’ve got them.”
Dolly and Pa met when she was 12 and he was 17. When he went into the Navy during WWII, they corresponded and in 1944, they married.
“He has lung cancer now, but he said he’s not leaving or giving up because he promised my daddy he’d always take care of me,” said Dolly. “The doctor said he believes him now because he’s doing so well. He’s a strong man.”
The Jims get together often and the whole family with many grandchildren and great grandchildren gather frequently at Pa and Dolly’s house.
“Whenever one of us is in the hospital, they all come at once,” said Dolly. “We’ve been very happy in Placerville.”
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