ELKHART-Richard Lee Newton, Sr., survived COVID-19 but passed away February 20, 2021 on his 96th birthday at Golden Living Center in Elkhart. He was born February 20, 1925 in Elkhart to William & Margaret (Baker) Newton.
He married Ann Strukel; she preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by his parents, 2 sons, Howard Newton and Donald Newton. He was also preceded in death by 1 brother, Wayne Newton and the mother of his children, Gwen Newton.
Surviving is 1 son, Richard “Ric” Newton, Jr., 3 siblings, Geraldine “Gerry” Watkins, James “Jim” Newton, Mary Bell, and Robert “Bob” Newton, numerous, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Lee attended Elkhart High School and on September 2, 1943 joined the Merchant Marines, where he served on transport ships during World War II as a boatswain mate. He later rejoined the U.S. Navy and served during the Korean War and received the Korean Service Medal and Navy Occupation Medal. Lee was on a ship in the Leyte Gulf near the Philippines when General McArthur invaded the Philippines, and the ship was kamikazed. He was the last to get off the ship and swam to shore.
He worked for many years at CG Conn as a buffer. After Conn’s closed Lee and his wife Ann painted and wallpapered home around Elkhart and also made tulips out of wood to sell at the Shipshewana Flea Market.
Lee was a huge part of the Osolo Township Fire Department in its beginning stages and because of his service he was awarded with being a lifetime member. He was also involved in the 1965 tornado that tore through Midway Mobile Home Park in Elkhart as a volunteer fireman. Additionally, he served with the Civil Defense and was a C.B. Operator.
The family would like to give many thanks and gratitude to the staff at Golden Living Center for the wonderful care they gave to Lee since 2018. They have been so helpful and always willing to communicate with the family by letting us know about Lee’s needs.
A graveside service will be held Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at Prairie Street Cemetery at 2 p.m. with military honors. Presiding will be Pastor Tim Sheets from Northside Church of the Nazarene.
Elkhart Cremation Services has been entrusted with the arrangements.
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