Greg Newenhof, the co-owner of City Lumber who was restoring the landmark Flavel mansion in Astoria, has died. He was 61.
Locals who knew Newenhof described him as a kind, quiet and devoted person always willing to help but never seeking notoriety. His sister-in-law, Beth, said Newenhof had recently been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cells, and was in remission when he died.
Newenhof owned City Lumber with his brother, Jeff, and had long volunteered with Astoria Regatta Association, Rotary Club of Astoria, the Astoria School District and other groups. He stayed largely under the radar until purchasing the dilapidated Flavel mansion at the corner of Franklin Avenue and 15th Street in 2015, beginning a life’s project restoring the building into his new home.
“I think Astoria has lost a friend,” said John Goodenberger, a local historic buildings expert. “He quietly supported the town. He supported the historical society, he supported the trolley and he’s supported other organizations.”
Newenhof had been a member of the Rotary Club since 1991. The group’s president, Nicole Williams, said he was one of the group’s quieter members who was always ready to help when needed.
Newenhof had opened the Flavel house in 2016 for a fundraising tour supporting the Clatsop County Historical Society. McAndrew Burns, executive director of the historical society, said Newenhof loved the history and was the right person to take on the project.
“You could just see a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face whenever he talked about that house,” Burns said, adding he was heartbroken that Newenhof wasn’t able to finish.
Newenhof and his brother inherited City Lumber from their parents, Jerry and Nancy, who became the fourth owners after buying the 114-year-old lumberyard in 1975. The Western Building Material Association awarded the brothers the Distinguished Dealer Award late last year.
The Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce last year presented Newenhof the George Award, Astoria’s citizen-of-the-year honor, in part for his efforts at the Flavel mansion.
Skip Hauke, director of the chamber and a former owner of Hauke’s Sentry Market, had known Newenhof and his family for as long as they’d been in business with City Lumber. He lauded the entire family’s support of community efforts and called Newenhof’s death a great loss.
“I considered him a good friend and an unbelievable community member,” Hauke said. “He’s done so much. Both he and Jeff have done so much for the community.”