John Fredrick Newbanks 1933-2022

John Fredrick Newbanks, also known as J.F, was born northwest of Wray at his family home on Aug. 7, 1933, to Myron Spencer Newbanks “Spencer” and Izero June Coad. John was the third child of eight children. Myron and Izero moved seven miles north of Eckley in 1937. John attended Sunset School, Barnes School and graduated from Eckley High School.
John’s love for cattle began with his dad, Spencer Newbanks. They raised Hereford bulls and showed them at the Stockshow. John also was a member of the Eckley Ags 4-H club where he learned to fit cattle. In 1951, John caught a calf at the National Western Stock Show in the Catch-A-Calf Program. John brought the calf “Buttons” back to the National Western Stock Show in 1952 and received a champion award.
John enlisted in the Air Force in 1952 as a mechanic and was honorably discharged as an Airman in 1957. Soon after his return, he met the love of his life, Connie Williams, and they married on Feb. 15, 1959, in the Yuma Methodist Church. They lived in Eckley and were blessed with three daughters Shelly Jo, Kelli Jon, and Deborah Kay.
John and Connie’s first adventure, as a married couple, was to take care of the Hereford bulls at the Newbanks Ranch. Spencer and Opal moved to Wray in 1965, and John and Connie moved to the ranch seven miles north of Eckley, where they took over the farming and started a feeder cattle operation. John could always be found at the sale barn buying his own cattle. John would say, “There is never enough rangeland to run cattle during the spring and summer months,” so in 1966, John and 29 other like-minded cattlemen formed Kitzmiller Grazing Association, a 13,800-acre ranch, located north of Wray. John was one of the original members and the association president for eight plus years and a life-long member.
John enjoyed participating in many organizations. He was the Eckley Trailblazers 4-H beef leader for 47 years, and in 2001 he won the 4-H leadership award. John was a member of the Yuma County Cattleman’s Association and in 1982 John was the president and in 2002 he received the Bill Seward Award. John belonged to the Wray Elks Lodge and the Sandhills Ground Management District for 40 plus years. John involved himself in the Eckley community by being a Volunteer Fireman, participating and helping with the annual Eckley Old Settlers Days and was a member of the Eckley Community Church.
John loved his family; his 3 girls were everything to him; and they were each blessed with families of their own. He was a proud grandpa, as affirmed by that infectious smile every time he spoke of them. He attended every activity his grandkids participated in from 4-H to high school sports and college graduations. He was always proud of them for their accomplishments. You grandkids will remember him asking you; How’s Chantz, How’s Chelsea, How’s Reid, How’s Monica, How’s Pyper, How’s Dory? And he listened. Then he could tell anyone that came to visit about what his grandkids were up to. John loved spending time with his family, friends, and neighbors and will be missed dearly by them all.
John is survived by his wife Connie Newbanks of Yuma, Co. His children Shelly Smith and her husband Wade, Kelli Newton and her husband Joe, and Deborah Drury and her husband Derek. His grandkids Chelsea Parker and her husband Keeper, Chantz Smith, Pyper Miller and her husband Zach, Dory Newton and her fiancé TJ Trujillo, Reid Drury and his wife Annawynn, and Monica Veliz and her husband Monty. His great grandkids West Miller, Raelynn Drury, Anderson Drury and Baker Veliz. His sisters Madeline Conrad and her husband Joe, and Merna Skipworth and her husband Larry. His sister-in-law Cheryl Newbanks. And many nieces and nephews.
John is preceded in death by his parents Spencer and Izero Newbanks, step-mother Opal Newbanks, brothers; Roy, Louis, and Lloyd Newbanks, and sisters; Neil Wilson and her husband Cliff Wilson, and June Yost and her husband Wayne Yost.