Local Obituaries

Mortgage exec Jim Newmeyer, who sold to Warren Buffett, dies at 68

James Newmeyer went from teacher and football coach at South Miami High School to a successful career as a certified mortgage banker and executive. He founded the family business Newmeyer Mortgage Services, Inc. in Coral Gables, a company run by his son, James Ryan Newmeyer.
James Newmeyer went from teacher and football coach at South Miami High School to a successful career as a certified mortgage banker and executive. He founded the family business Newmeyer Mortgage Services, Inc. in Coral Gables, a company run by his son, James Ryan Newmeyer.

James Newmeyer wasn’t going to let a little thing like height deter him from his goal of being on the football team.

At barely six feet, Newmeyer was told he couldn’t play football for Coral Gables High because he just wasn’t big enough.

“But that was the sport he loved the most,” said his brother Robert Newmeyer. “This was a tremendous setback for Jim.”

Newmeyer, a South Florida mortgage executive who died Aug. 13 at 68 of heart failure, knew how to overcome setbacks.

Newmeyer tried the swim team in 1963, but watched the football team’s game against Tampa for the state championship intently. The school’s kicker managed a field goal in the last minute to win the game for Coral Gables. “Jim had found a way to play football,” his brother said.

For the next nine months, the brothers biked over to the University of Miami practice fields where Newmeyer developed his foot work.

“He had gotten knocked down, but he got back up,” his brother said.

At the 1965 homecoming game at Tropical Park, Gables trailed Southwest by one point. With 35 seconds left on the clock, Newmeyer kicked a 47-yard field goal to win the game.

In his senior year at Furman University in South Carolina, in the last minute of play against Tennessee, he kicked a 65-yard field goal to win that game.

“He had gotten up again,” Robert Newmeyer said.

Newmeyer, born Feb. 16, 1948, in Miami, took that skill set into academia. He was a history and political science teacher and football and baseball coach at South Miami High School from 1974 to 1978.

“Coach Newmeyer just knew how to make you feel important and would tell us, ‘Education is the way to secure a successful future.’ Being the age we were, we had no idea how true that statement would be,” Patricia Meadows-Cropper wrote inn the guest book of his Miami Herald obituary.

In 1978, Newmeyer became a certified mortgage banker.

Jim was the kind of guy you don’t expect to come across in Miami, someone who was so willing to get a good deal for you that it cost him money. The easiest thing for him to do was get you a rate, lock you in and find the next client. Jim didn’t do that. He was a workaholic who loved making the deal and making his clients happy.

Politico reporter Marc Caputo on his mortgage broker, Jim Newmeyer.

“I guess I was the one to get Jim in the mortgage business when I hired him at Southeast,” Bob Magnuson wrote in Newmeyer’s guest book. “I figured with his intelligence and outgoing personality he would be a success and he was.”

Newmeyer had vice president roles at Southeast Mortgage Co., Chase Federal Bank, AmeriFirst Mortgage Corp., Centrust Mortgage Corp. and SourceOne Mortgage Services.

As president at Embassy Financial Services, Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors’ mortgage firm, he sold Embassy to the Warren Buffett-led conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway in 2003. In 2005, he started Newmeyer Mortgages Services in Coral Gables. His son James Ryan Newmeyer is now its president.

“Everything I did was in his honor because he inspired me,” his son said. “There was a genuineness about him and how he cared about people. He would go to any lengths.”

Added Politico reporter Marc Caputo of his friend and mortgage broker: “His cellphone used to have a ‘Margaritaville’ ringtone and he swore up and down that he was going to the Keys and retiring. Nope. After a few months he was back in Miami. The laid-back Keys wasn’t Jim’s style.”

Newmeyer is also survived by his children Sandy and Michael Newmeyer and grandson James Michael Newmeyer. Services were held.

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