William “Dean” Newton, 85, beloved husband, father, friend, died Monday, Aug. 5, 2013.
A Service of Remembrance will be held on Friday, Aug. 9, at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Lewistown. Military honors will be presented by the Fergus American Legion Post #16 and the Montana Honor Guard.
He was born on June 14, 1928, in Hobson, Mont., to William W. Newton and Annie (McLellan) Newton. His father died of cancer at the age of 46 in 1945, but Annie lived into her nineties and died in 1992.
Known as Billy Dean, when just 2 years old he rolled waxed bread paper into a pretend cigarette as he had seen his father do so many times and hid behind the curtain to light it. The curtain caught fire and his face was badly burned. He was taken to Moore and treated with daily treatments of olive oil and never complained at having to wear a catcher’s mask for over a year to help heal his burned face.
Dean attended school in Hobson through the second grade. His father purchased a car dealership in Glasgow where he sold Hudson-Terraplanes and moved the family to Glasgow. Dean was a freshman in high school when the family returned to Hobson.
To help support his family, he delivered cattle to Billings and returned via Roundup to load his truck with coal for the Hobson School. To keep the coal dust down, he would wet the coal with water. Doing this increased the possibility of spontaneous combustion. Fearing the possibility of a fire at the school, he enlisted the help of his friends to move it but this was somewhat of a problem because a few of his friends didn’t see the possibility of a fire at school and the following “vacation” that might ensue as such a bad thing.
He continued delivering coal and cattle until his father passed away in 1945. On that day, the family received a phone call from brother Kenny. They were elated that Kenny was alive because he was reported to have been killed in action, but saddened to have to tell him on that day they had buried his father.
He graduated from Hobson High School in 1946 and his mother wanted him to go on to college. He was reluctant to do this because he felt he needed to help support the family. Finally persuaded, he enrolled at the University of Montana which he attended for two semesters before leaving to work in Billings. Not long after, he left Billings to work as a salesman for the same Ford dealership where his brother Kenny worked.
In 1949, he enlisted in the Air Force, but wasn’t satisfied and asked to be transferred to the Army where he attended Officer Candidate School and graduated as a second lieutenant. He was stationed at Fort Eustis, Va., when he met June on a blind date. She was working as a secretary to the Commander of Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base. He was transferred to Korea as a commander of a truck company, which he always said was a great experience. He hurried back to Virginia when his deployment was over and married June on March 6, 1954.
The couple moved to Glasgow, where he partnered with his brother, who had purchased the Oldsmobile/Cadillac dealership. They continued living in Glasgow for 14 years and had two sons, Mike and Todd.
During his years in Glasgow, he drove the Sunday School bus, was president of the Chamber of Commerce, was on the volunteer fire department and made many trips to Washington, D.C., where he worked closely with Sen. Mike Mansfield to help keep the Air Force base at Glasgow open. Among the many awards he received while in Glasgow was one from the governor for “Boss of the Year.”
In 1968 he purchased Dowen Motors in Lewistown. Dean’s accomplishments while in Lewistown were many and a few include serving as a member of the Army Reserve, director of the Montana State Chamber of Commerce, being featured on the cover of the National GMC Truck News publication, serving as a director of the then community owned Yogo Inn Hotel for many years, serving on the General Motors Dealer Council where he was honored as “Auto Dealer of the Year” for 1988/89, and serving on the National Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society.
Survivors include his wife, June; two sons, Mike and Todd; one granddaughter, Deidre Thornsberry and her husband, Will, of Missoula; one brother, Kenny Newton; and one sister, Elaine Etchart and her husband, Gene, of Glasgow; and many dear nieces and nephews. He loved them all. He will be missed by those he loved and those who loved him and they were very many! His was a life well lived.
Service and cremation arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Condolences for the family can be expressed at www.creelfuneralhome.com.