By MARGIE NETZEL - firstname.lastname@example.org
The world has stopped for the Newhart family. What seemed like an average day was punctured by disaster that seemed manageable, survivable — until it wasn’t.
Nicholas Newhart, 11, died of an unknown cause last week at the Cleveland Clinic. The son of Michael and Jamie Newhart of Ashtabula, Nicholas was a Geneva Middle School fifth grader. He died on Friday after five days in the hospital.
Aunt Sharon Jones said Nicholas died of, “something internal, but they can’t tell us what it was.” She described her nephew as “amazingly sweet.”
Nicholas’ family, shocked by the sudden loss, is struggling with medical and funeral costs. His funeral is today.
Friends and family will host a benefit dinner for the Newharts on May 3 at Mugs Restaurant in Jefferson. The event, will be 4 to 8 p.m. It will include a chicken and biscuit dinner, salad, beverage and dessert, as well as a Chinese auction and 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Donations of auction items, gift cards and gift baskets for the auction can be donated by calling Nancy Newhart at 645-4585.
Jones said her family is reeling from the\ loss of Nicholas, who lived with autism.
“Nicky was an amazing little boy,” she said. “He had autism, but that didn’t stop him whatsoever. He was just remarkable and loving, and he had the most beautiful brown eyes. I can tell you that anyone who met Nicky would fall in love with Nicky.”
Jones said Nicholas had a way about him, especially in the eyes of his beloved pet turtle.
“He had this pet turtle,” she said, “and that stupid little turtle hid from everyone, but when Nicky went up to it, it poked its head out if it’s shell — but only for him.”
Jones said the family hopes for community support as they grieve for Nicholas and work to find the funds for his funeral expenses.
“We are a really tight-knit family,” Jones said. “This was so sudden. We are all so sad and this has been so rough.”
Nicholas has two brothers; Cody, 15 and Dakota, 13.
Donations to the family can also be made at Northwest Savings in Ashtabula Ohio under the names of Sharon Jones and Stacie Newhart. All funds will go to Nicholas’ parents. Donations can be made online at www.gofundme.com/2ms8xs. A donation can is available at Deb’s Diner on State Road in Ashtabula, and donations can also be mailed to Ray Newhart, P.O. Box 481 Jefferson, Ohio 44047.
“I just want to thank everyone for caring about our family during this difficult time,” Jones said. “As soon as we started the fund for Nicholas and got the word out about it, people just started responding right away. We have seen donations from people we don’t even know, from people we know, from some family and friends of family. It is amazing.”