Newman Cross Scholarship

History of the Newman Cross, CCIM scholarship

Newman Cross, CCIM, a Memphis Metro CCIM Chapter Past-President, was a very successful commercial real estate practitioner who also published real estate articles for the Memphis Business Journal for two years prior to his death. This is his last article that summarizes the caring attitude of this generous man. All of us who knew him continue to be amazed at his attitude and professional accomplishments all the way to his early death from Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2004 at 54 years of age.

Shortly after his death, the Memphis Metro CCIM Chapter set up a scholarship to assist commercial real estate professionals to take the CCIM courses and work towards being a CCIM. Newman was always willing to help others and this scholarship is a reminder of that personal attribute of Newman Cross.


This is the last article he wrote for the Memphis Business Journal and sums up his personality


Career yields an extended family I'm fortunate to have

Dec 28, 2003

Newman Cross

At a recent luncheon meeting, of the vast majority of commercial and industrial real estate practitioners in Memphis, I was repeatedly asked what my next article would address.

Now, that evoked two thoughts rolled into one response. The first -- wow...I guess I'm really read by more than my editor and the parrot checking out the bottom of his cage at PetCo; and secondly, "I have absolutely no idea."

As I ate, I considered the time of year -- this season of thanksgiving, hope and joy -- and looked around the room. There it was, my theme. A majority of the 200 or so of these real estate professionals -- competitors, friends, mentors -- were either a positive or instructive influence on the success of my career. From the work ethic of a man like Dan Wilkinson, who is, at 70-something and not lacking in financial independence, still making cold calls, to rookies who don't yet grasp the art of deal making, there is something to learn ...and something to be thankful for.

Individuals in our industry are similar in that we are generally gregarious self-starters. While there's good money to be made, many of us aren't motivated by it alone. We enjoy building things, solving problems and meeting the needs of our clients. The compensation is lagniappe.

To me, my co-workers and competitors are like extended family. I've grown up with so many of them, go to church with some, watched many of our children grow up together, hunted and fished with them and served with them in the community. I've been there to cry together with a few in times of loss, and laughed with many more. We share ties beyond our business.

My greatest pleasure is not just in calling Weston an employer or David Peck my boss; it's so much more than that! David is one of the most genuinely compassionate and honorable men I've ever had the privilege of knowing. He has done more for me as a professional and a friend than I could ever adequately express my appreciation for. And I believe all of us at Weston feel that way toward him.

So, as you pause to consider the real estate needs you might have in 2004, or beyond, please plan on using a member of my immediate or extended real estate family. You, too, will be thankful. I'm really lucky. I love my job.

Here is the obituary published in the Memphis Business Journal to help anyone who never met Newman Cross better understand how is interacted with everyone he met.


Real estate professional Cross could 'sell anything'

Jan 4, 2004

Kate Miller Morton

Newman Cross won't dance at his daughters' weddings or stand as best man for his sons as he publicly and defiantly predicted he would after he was diagnosed with the neurological disorder commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. But the father of four who once described hope as a "confident expectation" remained optimistic and defiant until his death Dec. 29. He was 41.

"Faith, hope and love -- he modeled each of those," says longtime friend Bob Loeb. "He had spiritual faith. He had hope for healing. He was just a kind and loving person." Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1997, Cross refused to surrender to the disease personally or professionally. "He didn't take pity on himself or have other people take pity on him," says Belz Enterprises vice president Morris Thomas, who once worked with Cross at Belz. "He went about having as normal of a life as you possibly can with that dreaded disease."

Vice president of marketing at Weston Cos., Cross never discussed retiring or even slowing down with CEO David Peck. He came to work every day wearing a starched shirt, tie and often a coat. With very limited speech and movement, Cross continued to develop new business plans, write tenant manuals and close deals until the end. In August, he helped broker the $12.85 million sale of the East Memphis office building Lake Crest I, representing buyer Primacy Relocation. "He's right now our top producer in the company, which is a testament to him," says Laura Peck, marketing director for the office division. One of the last to leave the office on Christmas Eve, his last day of work, he apologized to his colleagues for not wrapping their gifts.

A 1996 graduate of Leadership Memphis and Memphis Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 class of 2000 alum, Cross loved real estate and wrote the real estate column "Real Deals" for MBJ for two years. His last column appeared in the Dec. 26 edition and was devoted to the real estate community, competitors and co-workers alike, who he said were like "extended family." Cross ended the column saying simply, "I'm really lucky. I love my job."

MBJ editor Bill Wellborn says Cross provided the Memphis business community with practical real estate information through his "Real Deals" column. "Newman gave our readers an insight into the inner workings of real estate dealings that they could get nowhere else," Wellborn says. "He provided a nice mix to the other columns in our Small Business section, which deal primarily with sales and marketing. I particularly enjoyed Newman's sophisticated brand of humor."

A keen negotiator, Cross was known for his tenacity. "He wouldn't let anything go," Thomas says. "He would never take no for an answer."

Frank Dyer III, who met Cross through their mutual involvement in the Boys and Girls Club, says Cross was equally determined outside of his professional life. "He set records year after year for selling Christmas cards," Dyer says. "He could sell anything."

State senator and attorney Mark Norris, who preceded Cross as president of the Phoenix Club in the mid-1990s, says he set the pace for volunteer service in the community for his peers. "He went all out all the time for any cause he applied himself to," Norris says. "The same thing with his struggle against Lou Gehrig's Disease; he never let it get him down and always kept his chin up as far as we could see. He had a great spirit. It's a real loss for the community but thank God we had him as long as we did."

Cavett Fallis was a friend of Cross since nursery school and was best man at his wedding. He remembers a good friend who was intensely loyal at every point in his life. "He was your friend and if you got in the fire, he was coming with you," Fallis says.

Cross was open about his strong Christian faith, which his friends say fueled a belief that he would be cured. In his office lined with plaques for various civic work and professional achievements, he kept a Bible presented to him in 1974 at Presbyterian Day School with Psalms 103:1-5 highlighted. "I know of no one in my life that had stronger faith than Newman did," David Peck says. "I'm convinced he lived three years longer than he would have. He even felt as if it was almost hypocritical to carry life insurance."

Cross was also known for his wit, which Loeb says only sharpened as his disease progressed. "He had a great sense of humor, but toward the end of his life when he had a hard time talking, the brevity of his wit became more apparent because he could only get out a few words," Loeb says. "His mind was as sharp as ever to the end."




Please consider a charitable donation to assist the Memphis Metro Chapter keep this scholarship available. Over $17,000 has been disbursed since 2005 by the MAAR Education Foundation. The timing of future scholarships is dependent upon your support.

Contact or Terry Radford, Chapter President, at