In Loving Memory

John R New, Sr.

February 2, 1948 - April 16, 2023


John R. New, Sr., a native of Philadelphia, PA and a resident of Daphne, AL, passed away on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 16, 2023, at the age of 75.

COL John R. New, Sr., USA Retired; enlisted as a Private in the Regular Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey on February 20, 1967. He spent over six years on active duty serving as Squad Leader and Platoon Sergeant in Airborne Infantry units in CONUS and overseas.  He received a direct commission during his second combat tour in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

After active duty, John served in both the National Guard and Army Reserve. As a commissioned officer, he has commanded units at Platoon, Company and Battalion levels and has worked as a Staff Officer at Brigade, Division and MACOM levels.  He was recalled to active duty for both Desert Storm and Bosnia (where he ran the Mobilization Station at Fort Benning, GA).  In his last duty assignment, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of Plans, Operations and Security (IMA) for the Military District of Washington, Fort L.J. McNair, and Washington, DC.  He retired after 33 years of active and reserve service on January 20, 2000.

John has numerous awards and decorations but to him the ones that he treasured dearly are the Purple Heart (two awards) and the Combat Infantry Badge.

John is a graduate of numerous military schools including the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS and the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI.  He is Branch qualified infantry, Military Police and Transportation.  He has a BS in Law Enforcement and Corrections from the Pennsylvania State University, a MS in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama as well as a MS in Management from the National Louis University.

In civilian life he was a Federal Criminal Investigator with the Office of Investigations, and U.S. Customs Services for over 30 years.  He finished his career in Mobile, AL as a group supervisor responsible for port security, export control and counter terrorism.  Prior to his assignment in Mobile, he was Chief, Training and Behavioral Science, Undercover Operations Branch in Washington, DC.  In 1987 he was named “Investigator of the Year” by the Federal Investigators Association.

In 1991, John completed an undercover investigation centering on an attempt by the government of Pakistan (ISI) to acquire specialty steel and restricted nuclear material destined for use in that nation’s nuclear weapons program. As a direct result of that investigation, four billion dollars in aid (including F-16s) was canceled by the Congress of the United States.  He is an acknowledged international expert in undercover operations having taught over 50% of all U.S. Customs operatives as well as agents from six allied governments and 34 state, local and federal agencies.  He is also an expert in Consequence Management and Anti-Terrorist Operations Planning.

John is a life member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, VFW, DAV, ROA, and MOA.  He was past State (Alabama) President of the Federal Investigations Association and the South Alabama Veterans Council in Mobile, AL, where he dealt with veteran’s issues in an eight-county area.  He was one of the founding members of Honor Flight South Alabama and was very active in the Veterans community at all levels.

He also served as an ombudsman for the Alabama committee of the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve.  In 1990, he was elected National President of the U.S. Customs Service of Disabled Veterans Association, the first organization of it’s kind in the Federal Government.  In this position, he led the fight to have disabled veterans rated 30% or higher recognized as a separate protected class in senior management promotions.  He also was the point man on the rewrite of the Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Plan for the U.S. Treasury Department.  On September 19, 2012, Governor Robert Bentley appointed him to the State Veterans Board.

John was an avid history buff and railroad fan. In his spare time, he loved to read and build dioramas.

John is preceded in death by his parents, John E. and Lillian New.  He is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Mary Michelle New; children, John New, Jr., Andrea New; stepson, T.J. Madison; grandchildren, Payton, Gavin, Erin, Caitlyn, Taylor and Tommy; siblings, Daniel New, Denise Hagan, Dennis New, Darren New and Lora Clay; along with other family members and friends.

He loved God, he loved his Family, and he loved his Country. May he rest in peace.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at Christ the King Catholic Church, 711 College Avenue in Daphne, AL, at 11AM. There will be a time of visitation before the service beginning at 10AM.

Interment will take place at Resurrection Cemetery in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to any of the following organizations that were dear to John.  The Purple Heart Service Foundation at
the Tunnel to Tower Foundation at or Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service Trust at

Expressions of condolence for the family may be made at Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road, Daphne, AL, is assisting the family.


  1. Bill Fleisher

    Dear Mary and Family;

    I was saddened to hear of John’s passing. May his memory be a Blessing.

  2. Joseph Richard Willey

    I first met John in 1985 when he was detailed to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as a Class Counselor for new Customs” Criminal Investigators/Special Agents under going training. Aside from both of us being Special Agents we were also Viet Nam Vets and Army Reserve Officers. We later reunited in HQs in the late 1980’s.

    John was a very interesting man and a pleasure to talk to. He was my “Go To” guy when I sustained a major injury while performing Active Duty training with U.S. Army Japan. His guidance with how to maneuver through the Veteran’s Administration web of filing a claim was extremely helpful.

    I was sadden to learn of his passing and offer my condolences to his family.

  3. Steven Basha

    A good man has passed, May John rest in peace. I have fond memories of working with John at Customs HQ in the 1980s. Sincere condolences to John’s family.

  4. Bryan & Elaine Mead

    We are very saddened at the loss of our wonderful neighbor and friend of 20+ yrs. John was a true patriot and you always knew where you stood with him; a quality we truly appreciated! My husband, Bryan, and John shared a love for the military and history. John had a heart of gold, and we’ll miss him. Prayers for Michelle and family

  5. Lawrence J. (Larry) Cerruti

    I first met John shortly after being assigned to the U. S. Arm,y Military District of Washington in April 1990. He was an integral part of the planning and execution of numerous national-level events to include Presidential Inaugurations, State Funerals and the National Victory Celebration. He was a meticulous planner and a consummate leader who devoted himself totally to the mission and his teammates. It is an honor to have called him “friend” and I will miss our many conversations. I know in my heart that when John was called Home, Our Lord said to him “Well done good and faithful servant,”

  6. John (Mike) Jeakle

    John and I served together in Vietnam. Good Man. Good Soldier.. Good Person. Will miss him at the 173 rd reunions.


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