Wesley Edward Newport Sr. mugshot-1
BLOOMINGTON – Wesley (Wes) Edward Newport, Sr., 66, of Bloomington, Ill., passed away on Saturday, March 5 at his home.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 11at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington, where military rites was accorded by the Bloomington-Normal American Legion Honor Guard.
Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 at Carmody-Flynn Funeral Home in Bloomington.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Evergreen Cemetery for plantings in his name or to the family.
Wes was born Dec. 31, 1949 in Belvidere, the son of James and Gwendolyn Babcock Newport. He was raised with his two brothers on his parents’ farm and joined the United States Air Force after graduating from high school.
He then became a General’s Aide at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines and traveled throughout Southeast Asia on his military duties during and after the Vietnam War. He was on the tarmac at Clark Air Force Base when John McCain and 107 other American prisoners of war landed on March 14, 1973.
Seeing those prisoners return home impacted him deeply and was a moment that stuck with him all his life. His military experiences influenced Wes to serve in the Illinois National Guard for the better part of his adult life and made him a profoundly patriotic citizen.
In the Philippines, Wes developed a lifelong love for scuba diving and sea life. After moving to Bloomington upon his discharge from the Air Force, he maintained his scuba certification and took vacations to places he could dive whenever possible.
Since these trips were not frequent enough to satisfy his love of the ocean, he brought the ocean and its inhabitants into his home with elaborate salt-water aquariums that brought him and his family much joy. He married Christine Veselak on the beach, May 16, 1989 at Captiva Island, Fla.
Wes was a devoted father and husband, avid reader, active community member, and engaged citizen. He valued education and the pursuit of knowledge at all costs, and prided himself on being a learner and supporting the educational endeavors of those around him. He was a dedicated student, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology as a non-traditional student at Illinois State University.
He enjoyed understanding concepts and being as familiar as possible with everything he studied. His children benefitted greatly from his love of learning. He cultivated enriching environments for his children’s minds by providing an endless supply of books, educational and life experience opportunities, and engaging conversations.
As his children grew older, he found opportunities to provide the same experiences to his nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and grand-nieces and -nephews, much to their delight. He was also passionate about gardening, and his niece Sara Rivera became his legs around the yard as his health declined. Through her, he was able to maintain the gardens, plants and aquarium he loved.
Wes will be dearly missed by the many loved ones he left behind. He was kind, good-hearted, and warm, and he made sure those he loved knew they were loved.
Surviving are his wife, Chris Newport of Bloomington; four children, Christina (Jeff) Hester of Overland Park, KS; Wesley Newport, Jr., of Ravenna, OH; Jen Newport of Bloomington; and Katie Newport of Chicago; three grandchildren, Rose, Ruby and Mitch Hester; a brother, Dayre (Mari) Newport of Davis, Ill.; his sisters- and brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews, in the Bloomington/Normal area and elsewhere, and many aunts, uncles and cousins in Belvidere and Morris.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Charles Newport.
To express condolences online, please visit www.carmodyflynn.com.

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