David Watkens Newcombe, of Randolph, Virginia peacefully departed this life on the night of February 26, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia after a long and terminal battle with liver and kidney disease. He was the only son born to Carson W. Newcombe and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Dodson Newcombe in the community of Scuffletown (Charlotte County) on December 14, 1944. He was the last child to be born to his parents after having four girls: Hazel (Martin), Frances (Brown), Betty (Hamlett), and Nancy (McKinney). He was the “baby boy.”
From an early age, he became a master carpenter learning how to build furniture and constructing homes. With a powerful talent in hands-on learning, David fueled his love for automobiles by learning their mechanics and engineering. These skills he carried his entire life becoming an individual known to able to problem-solve, design, create, and manufacture anything in order to find a solution to the many challenges of life. David’s eloquent way of explaining it was simply put, “you gotta be smarter than what you are working with.” He learned to drive on the farm in a 1946 Chevrolet pickup and it was those memories coupled with his talents that he restored several cars and trucks, including his favorites: a 1946 Chevrolet pickup (modeled after the one from his youth), a 1972 Chevrolet, and his recent pride a 1925 Chevrolet sedan. He also was extremely proud of his family home, that he and his beloved brother-in-law, Thomas Martin, designed and built as a replica of one in Colonial Williamsburg.
Growing up in rural Southside Virginia offered a great respect for one’s history, admiration and respect for God’s glory and beauty in His creations, and a deep love for family; however, economical opportunities were limited, and it was from that he enlisted his services and talents with the Southern Railway Company in the Bridge Department. At times, he and his “gang” could be stationed anywhere from Washington, D.C. to Florida, but as a general rule they called Richmond, Virginia and Greensboro, North Carolina their home base. He earned life-long friends and “brothers” on the railroad and it was from them that he earned his nickname: Jazzum. It evolved one afternoon from David and his gang washing and cleaning up from a day’s work, when David immediately ran out of the cleaning agent and excitedly asked for more. In the process, he mistakenly called the brand of soap “jazzum” and it was from there that the nickname stuck. More than thirty-years later, David retired from Norfolk-Southern Railway and rekindled his life-long passions.
Outside of work and problem-solving he enjoyed “hunting for arrowheads” after a fresh spring rain along the low grounds of the Staunton River, spring turkey hunting (although his family never reported seeing any “trophies”), restoring antique furniture, and maintaining his collections in his “gee-raj” (garage). He nurtured his expanding peach orchard and enjoyed growing tomatoes. His archnemesis were squirrels or what he penned as “nothing more than a tree rat,” because of their harmful impacts on his peach trees and their amazing ability to stealthy steal his peaches, and thus he became a master marksman and predator of the squirrel. It is noted that he was most proud of his recent accomplishment in the Spring of 2020, where he had cage and later released along the river, more than 38 squirrels.
David was an avid lover of history, focusing his attentions on the War Between the States, the Confederacy, historical preservation, genealogy, and Charlotte County. In his “younger days,” he and several of his friends became Confederate Reenactors and locally travelled providing interpretations and demonstrations. He was a collector of antiques and for many years he and his wife would travel, every Saturday evening, to North Carolina to weekly auctions. He enjoyed being a proud supporter and volunteer for the Historic Staunton River Foundation, as his ancestor was one of the few and faithful that helped defend the Staunton River Railroad Bridge against an invading force in 1864 and supporting its family-oriented events and projects from Halloween Hayrides and Antebellum Christmases to most recently remodeling and redesigning several homes and buildings he helped purchase and donate to their efforts.
He was well-known as an author of nicknames giving only close friends and family humorous or affection ones. Some of which included: Fruit Fly, 100-Watt, Joe-D., Ole Snead, White Boy, Cousin Brucie, Big Mama, Tom-Tom, JarFly, Farthead, Fostereo, Ole Woman, Doo-Dah, Doo-Doo, Dopey-Dan, Boy, Brutus, Lucy, TeaCup, Worley, Joe, Shawnee, CindyLou, V.W., Foots, or a simple rearrangement of their given-Christian name. There were many other special friends and family that may not have been given a quirky nickname, but were considered loved and in some cases probably were better off without one!
He will be remembered as a true and honorable Southern Gentlemen, a man of God, a real friend, a Confederate arms and militaria expert, a Chevy-man, a Georgia Belle peach fan, a champion marglobe tomato eater, a master persimmon picker, an admirer of mulberries, an arrowhead collector, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans High Bridge Camp #1581, a compatriot in the Society of the War of 1812 in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a member of the Historic Staunton River Foundation, a gunsmith, a foe of Scuffletown squirrels, a bee-keeper, a Disney+ and History Channel lover, keeper of the “gee-raj” keys, knower of all and builder of everything, a nickname poet, antique collector, and most importantly a loving, dedicated, and supportive husband and father.
The cars, trucks, bridges, and homes he either constructed or reconstructed will stand as a testament to his God-given gifts, talents, and skills. When asked what his middle initial “W” stood for, he would happily and proudly explain “Wonderful!” and that is how David W. Newcombe of Scuffletown will be always remembered: as Wonderful. He is preceded in death by his beloved German Shepherd Duchess (Dutch), and is survived by his White German Shepherd Bentley (Ben), his loving wife of 57-years, Virginia Louise “Jenny Lou” Allen Newcombe and his only-son J. Shane Newcombe.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank the tentative doctors, nurses, and staff at the University of Virginia Digestive Health, Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital, South Boston Gastroenterology, Charlotte County Rescue Squad, Central Virginia Health Services, Charlotte Drug Company, and the Virginia Commonwealth University Critical Care Unit. Browning-Duffer Funeral Home in Keysville, Virginia is in charge of the arrangements. At the request of the family, private services will be held on Wednesday 3 March 2021 at 11:00 A.M. and he will be laid to rest at his home between his beloved magnolia and mulberry trees at the Newcombe Family Cemetery in Scuffletown. Memorial contributions can be made to the Historic Staunton River Foundation, P.O. Box 1, Randolph, Virginia 23962-0001 (www.historicstauntonriverfoundation.org).