Title Industry Veteran Remembered as Mentor, Friend

November 20, 2014

Robert (Bob) Newlon spent more than 50 years in the title insurance industry, starting his career during the 1950s with Phoenix Title (which eventually became Transamerica Title). When news spread that Newlon passed away at the age of 84 on Nov. 7, many were quick to offer their respect and admiration of a man who cared deeply for title insurance industry, and served as a mentor and friend.

“Those who knew Bob, observed he was always on the go, always engaged with his employees and he sincerely loved people and life,” said Victor Rzepecki, president of the Land Title Association of Arizona (LTAA). “Bob's charismatic smile and wink of the eye, coupled with his deep, but softly spoken voice moved people to respect and admire him. He changed people's lives for the better.” 

Mr. Newlon received a football scholarship to Tulane. However, a broken neck suffered in a diving accident ended his football career. While attending Phoenix College, Newlon met his future wife, Betty Joe Tompkins. Following Newlon’s service in the Navy, the couple married in 1952 and moved to Kansas after purchasing his grandfather’s farm. A severe drought in the late 1950s forced the couple back to Kansas. That’s when Newlon took a job in the trust department of Phoenix Title and started his career in the title industry.

Harley Brown, a retired executive from LandAmerica after 50 years in the industry, became friends with Newlon when he joined Phoenix Title in 1958. The two worked together for many years and formed a close friendship. Brown described Newlon as "one of those professionals who was larger than life because of the many things Bob was to so many people."

From 1978 to 1985, Newlon was co-owner and president of Title Guaranty in Tucson. He then formed Pioneer Title Agency in 1985 with is son, Keith (current president of the company), and Keith’s wife, Cindy. In 2000, the Newlon family purchased Yavapai Title Agency. Newlon served as chairman for the remainder of his life.

An honorary life member of LTAA, Mr. Newlon served as its president in 1986. A long-time ALTA member, Newlon was a dedicated supporter of TIPAC and understood the need to advocate on behalf of the title industry.

“Bob's passion for excellence, as well as having great pride in our industry set a standard for us to follow,” Rzepecki said. “As incoming LTAA president, Bob challenged me to get our members to join ALTA, as it does so much for the benefit of our industry.”

An informal “retirement party” will be held as a memorial to Newlon at 11 a.m. local time, Saturday, Nov. 22 at the DoubleTree (445 S. Alvernon Way, Tucson, Ariz.). In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made to your favorite charity.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.