Roger S. Newcomb, director of vocational rehabilitation program


Roger S. Newcomb, an Ellicott City resident who helped establish a vocational rehabilitation program for mentally and physically disabled adults in Columbia, died Thursday of a heart attack. He was 48.

Services took place Monday at the First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, in Ellicott City. Mr. Newcomb was buried in St. John's Cemetery.

Mr. Newcomb was the first executive director of the Howard County Workshop for Handicapped Adults, a vocational rehabilitation program for the disabled.

Now called the Developmental Services Group, the 21-year-old agency helps prepare about 200 adults a year for the work force, placing them in jobs within the agency and the community.

Mr. Newcomb also helped win a federal grant providing bus transportation in Howard County for the disabled.

"He related well with all people," said his wife, Suzanne.

Most recently, Mr. Newcomb worked as a vocational consultant for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services of Timonium, an insurance-industry service company, and as an adviser to the External High School Diploma Program at Howard Community College.

"Roger was the kind of person you felt like you had known for a long time," said Patty Keeton, coordinator of basic skills programs at Howard Community College.

"He was a wonderful counselor."

Before moving to Ellicott City in 1971, Mr. Newcomb was the assistant executive director of the Easter Seal Center of Southeastern Connecticut.

Mr. Newcomb was born in South Gate, Calif. He received a bachelor's degree from Marquette University in 1965 and a master's degree in rehabilitation administration from Northeastern University in 1966.

When Mr. Newcomb was not aiding the disabled, he enjoyed spending time with his family, Mrs. Newcomb said.

"He liked to be with his family," Mrs. Newcomb said. "They were his life. He showed up for every single sports event or concert" in which his two sons participated.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Newcomb is survived by his sons, Brian and Eric, both of Ellicott City; a sister, Myrna Carroll of Yorba Linda, Calif.; and his mother, Marjorie Newcomb Reese of San Diego.

An educational trust fund for his sons has been established in his memory.

Donations may be sent to George Kullgren, 3875 Spencer Court, Ellicott City, Md. 21042.

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