Russell Leland Newsom

October 2, 2017

Russell Leland Newsom, 63, died Oct. 2, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C. 

Russ was born in El Dorado, Ark., September 28, 1954, the third child of the late William Sidney Newsom Jr., and Virginia Primm Newsom of Hendersonville, NC. As a boy he attended schools in Lakeland, Fla., Mount Prospect, Ill., and Atlanta. He graduated from Columbia High School in Lake City, Fla., and attended the University of Florida. After working in the oil industry in Texas, he moved to Charlotte in the 1980s, where for a time he had a business installing custom hardwood floors. At the time of his death he was a production technician at Data Tech Systems in Charlotte.

Russ was always a creative soul, with the independent spirit of an artist and an abiding suspicion of the corporatization of America. He spent many happy hours with fellow creative spirits in the NoDa that once was, exhibiting paintings and metal works at the still-mourned Studio 23 and hanging out at Fat City Deli and Pat’s Time for One More. He loved his occasional appearances on Z-Axis, a local access cable channel, creating and playing Drunk Chef, among other characters.

Surviving in addition to his mother are his brother, William S. Newsom III, DDS and wife, Mary I. Newsom of Etowah N.C., and sister, Mary S. Newsom and husband, Frank Barrows of Charlotte, NC. Also surviving are nephews, Ben Newsom of Whitefish, Mont., Frank Newsom of Huntersville, and George Newsom and wife, Lauren of Columbia. S.C.; niece, Maggie Barrows of New York City; great-niece, Catalina Newsom and great-nephew, Donnie Newsom.

In addition to his artistic interests Russ was an avid gardener and an excellent cook. He read widely, loved books and magazines and was devoted to the many dogs and cats in his life that he adopted when they needed a home.

Family and friends will gather 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at 2034 Park Drive (corner Clement Avenue and Park Drive).

Russ may be remembered by a gift in his name to the Humane Society of Charlotte. Gifts may be made online at or at 2700 Toomey Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28203.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Services, 1321 Berkeley Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences at

Share your memories & condolences


  • Jerry Kirk

    I spent many hours during the 90s hanging out with Russ and our fellow artists at 23 Studio and Wrightnow Gallery. Russ was a true original, both in his art and his personality. Well-read and opinionated he was alway an interesting conversationalist with a good sense of humor. I'm sad to hear of his passing and will think of him often when remembering the 'good old days' of NoDa of which he was an intrinsic part.

  • Carolyn McCarson

    I'm so sorry for your loss.