Former State Sen. Dave Newell dies after conflict with ALS; had called for right-to-die legislation – Omaha World

June 27, 2016 - als

Dave Newell

Dave Newell

Dave Newell

Dave Newell

Dave Newell

Dave Newell, a former state senator and Metropolitan Community College board member, works on his mechanism progressing this year. Typing into a appurtenance with his one good palm was one of a few remaining ways Dave can still promulgate as amyotrophic parallel sclerosis pounded his body.

Dave Newell

Dave Newell

Dave Newell, lobbying for some-more choices in how he would die in his dispute with ALS, wrote a minute to Nebraska senators. “Imagine fibbing in bed on your behind for weeks or months watchful to suffocate,” he wrote. “You can't spin over since you’re too weak. Dying muscles cramp, and that pain still registers since your mind still works. That is my nightmare.”

David Newell

David Newell

David Newell was drafted into a Army and served in Vietnam in 1967.

Posted: Monday, Jun 27, 2016 1:04 pm

Updated: 10:14 pm, Mon Jun 27, 2016.

Former State Sen. Dave Newell worked tirelessly to make a universe a improved place for operative class

By Martha Stoddard / World-Herald staff writer

The Omaha World-Herald

Former State Sen. Dave Newell of Omaha never stopped perplexing to change a universe for what he believed was a better.

Even in his final months, when amyotrophic parallel sclerosis stole his voice and he had to use a appurtenance to communicate, he spoke out for legislation that would concede doctors to allot life-ending drugs for terminally ill people.

He wrote a minute to state lawmakers debating a “right-to-die” check due by Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers. And he concluded to be profiled on a theme by World-Herald columnist Erin Grace.

“I wish (the legislation) as an choice not only for me though for others,” Newell told Grace. That was in April.

On Sunday, Newell died of ALS, also famous as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He upheld divided during home surrounded by family and friends. He was 69.

[‘Imagine fibbing in bed … for weeks or months watchful to suffocate’; ex-state senator wants genocide on his possess terms]

Newell’s daughter, Sarah, pronounced her father was means to die on his possess terms as many as possible.

Her grandmother had died days earlier, she said, and on conference of her death, Newell scrawled out: “I’m going too. It’s OK.”

Newell spent many of his life in open use and politics, advocating for affordable entrance to education, preserving a sourroundings and championing a rights of a reduction fortunate. He pronounced he went into politics since he wanted to make a universe improved for a operative class.

He served dual terms in a Nebraska Legislature, from 1977 by 1985. He counted his biggest legislative fulfilment as abolishing a sales taxation on food.

Newell was partial of a organisation of immature senators, mostly Democrats, inaugurated in a late 1970s. Another member of that group, former Sen. Don Wesely of Lincoln, depends Newell as one of his beginning domestic mentors.

“He was a super-smart guy, hard-working, dedicated,” Wesely said. “He was really good during backing adult votes.”

He pronounced Newell also enjoyed a severe and decrease of politics and was not one to behind down from conflict.

“My father was really ardent about his viewpoints,” Sarah Newell said. Wesely said: “He had some pointy elbows in a diversion of politics.”

Those elbows came out during times during Newell’s 3 terms on a Metropolitan Community College board, that enclosed dual years as residence chairman.

He served from 2002 to 2014, during a time when a college had struggles over care and over a state appropriation formula.

Sarah Newell pronounced her father felt really strongly about village college. As one of 6 children, he substantially would not have been means to go to college if not for Norfolk Junior College, where he warranted an associate degree.

He afterwards warranted a bachelor’s grade from a University of Nebraska during Omaha, where he also did connoisseur work in history.

A lifelong Democrat, Newell was authority of a Nebraska Democratic Party from 1984 to 1985. He also was state boss and inhabitant committeeman for a Nebraska Young Democrats.

“Sen. Newell always stood for a raise of all Nebraskans,” pronounced stream Democratic Party Chairman Vince Powers. “His work was significant, suggestive and lasting.”

He was director of a Omaha-Douglas Public Building Commission from 1987 to 1995. He also worked as a legislative relationship for a Nebraska Department of Revenue and as a lobbyist for a Distilled Spirits Council of a United States. Most recently he invested in genuine estate.

He served in a Army from 1969 to 1976 and was a Vietnam War veteran.

Newell is survived by his wife, Arlene; children John and Sarah; grandchildren Madison and Grace; and 5 siblings. He was preceded in genocide by his parents, Fern Newell Simonsen and Ivan Newell.

A jubilee of life open residence is designed for Aug. 7 from noon to 5 p.m. during a Peter Kiewit Lodge during Mahoney State Park.

Memorials might be sent to a Metropolitan Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 3777, Omaha, NE 68103, or a ALS Association Mid-America Chapter, 10730 Pacific St., Suite 103, Omaha, NE 68114.

Contact a writer: 402-473-9583,

Correction: A prior chronicle of this story indicated that Dave Newell was survived by his parents.

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Monday, Jun 27, 2016 1:04 pm.

Updated: 10:14 pm.







Dave Newell,



Lou Gehrig’s Disease,





Nebraska Democratic Party,






Sarah Newell,

Erin Grace,


Don Wesely,


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