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Farewell to Bob Newton
Bob's funeral took place at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville, Va. on 29 September 2012.
The day before the funeral, Linda Newton and the family invited classmates and friends to a picnic at Roundaway Farm, the Newton's home in Marshall, Va. Tables were set outside by the gardens and pool. This is horse country. The rolling hills and pastures were a fine background on a partly sunny afternoon as the guests enjoyed pulled pork, salads and desserts. The picnic, so typical of the way Bob and Linda always entertained in the past, was in its way a sad reminder of Bob's passing. Our classmate, Jim Darrah, read a poem penned by another West Pointer, whose class tradition was to bid farewell to a fallen classmate by each tapping his class ring on the coffin. At the funeral on Saturday, a number of us gathered around Bob at the end of the ceremony to do just that.
Some sixty family and friends were at the picnic. Our class was represented by: Norm and Barb Blahuta, Jim and Billie Darrah, Marcia Cathey, Dan and Yvette Troyan, Ed and Betsy Anderson, Al and Dot Spaulding, Carl and Jo Ann McNair, Tommy and Elaine West, Joe and Connie Franklin, Greta Masson, John and Ruth Sloan, Jim Ryan, Bob Deardorff, Diane and Dick Gottron, Rich and Mary Ann Miller.
Trinity Episcopal Church is a lovely large French Norman style building with burial ground adjacent to the church. The morning haze gave way to bright sunlight by 1100. Our large class wreath of mums with seasonal flowers and black, gold and grey ribbon, adorned with our class crest, was at the entrance. A lone bag piper played as the casket arrived. The church was filled to capacity by about 300 when a military honor guard accompanied the flag covered casket inside for the service. A very fine portrait of Bob was on the first page of the program, a Celebration of the Life of Colonel Robert W. Newton (USA, Ret) April 17, 1931 - August 21, 2012.
It was a beautiful celebration. The West Point Alumni Glee Club sang "The Corps" during the service in the church and, joined by all the graduates present, sang "The Alma Mater" at the gravesite. Moving tributes to Bob were given by Efrain Arellanos, a long time employee whom Bob had mentored, by Tommy West who led us in the Cadet Prayer, and by Bob and Linda's son, Robert W. Newton, Jr. A forth eulogy, by Dick Irish, a neighbor who was on a Mediterranean cruise, was read by Robert Banse, the minister.
The burial service followed in the church cemetery with full military honors. The military honor guard, led by an Army colonel, fired the traditional three volleys and a trumpeter sounded the solemn notes of "Taps". The flag was carefully folded and presented to Linda. Everyone, privately, bid farewell to our classmate and longtime friend.
A reception was held in the church hall after the graveside service. The crowd was large and I may have missed seeing some of our classmates. I saw or spoke with the following in addition to those at the picnic: Ray Gunderson, Rod Vitty, Don and Carla Hilbert, Zach and Carolyn Hagedorn, Nancy Bishop, Leo and Pauline Hergenroeder, Dave McNerney, Jim Cutchin, Bill and Joan McCulla, Ted and Starla Vitori, Marty McGuire, Val Bundren, Ted Gay, Dan and Donna Ludwig, Matt and Betty Schepps, John Rudzki, Bob and Pat Strati.
Linda would like to thank all those classmates who assisted in providing this honorable send off to Bob.
Bob, be thou at peace.