Dr. Gwendolyn G. “Gwen” Newton, 88, of Chinook and Oysterville, Wash., died Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010, of causes related to old age, in Astoria. 

She was born Oct. 4, 1922, at home, on the line between Floyd and Mitchell counties in Iowa, to Harold and Margaret Newton. An entrepreneur at an early age, she shared a newspaper route with her older brother, sold the Saturday Evening Post door-to-door, and sold handmade neckties to patrons of the local tavern, where she had a captive audience.

She graduated from high school in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She attended Michael Reese School of Nursing in Chicago, where she received registered nurse credentials in 1944, and joined the U. S. Public Health Service. 

She was commissioned by the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant and sent overseas to serve first with the United Nations Rehabilitation and Relief Administration (UNRRA) in Yugoslavia, and later at the 182nd Station, the 45th General, and the 17th General hospitals in Naples, Italy.

Following the war, Dr. Newton worked at the Marine Hospital on Staten Island, N.Y., then joined several friends to work at the Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu. She took her premedical studies at the University of Hawaii.

In 1950, she returned stateside to Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., where, courtesy of the GI Bill, she earned her medical degree. She received her board certification in pediatrics and, in 1955, joined a private practice in Barrington, Ill. Later she joined a practice in Minot, N.D. In between, she owned Riverside Antiques on Lake of the Woods, Minn. In the late 1970s, she came  to Salem to serve the profoundly mentally retarded youngsters at the Fairview Training Center. She retired in 1987, buying the W.D. Taylor house in Oysterville, Wash. There she helped local artist and author Nancy Lloyd start the screen printing and publishing business, Oysterville Hand Print LLC.

Family members said she was a child of the Great Depression, and never forgot its lessons: “Wherever possible, avoid debt; repeat small profits.” After retiring, she traveled the Western U.S. in a succession of small recreational vehicles. She loved cats and had friends everywhere, it seemed. Remote was the museum that she hadn’t inspected and approved. She even helped design and install a museum, the Nahcotta, Wash., Willapa Bay Interpretive Center.

She is survived by a brother, Gordon W. Newton of Osage, Iowa, and his descendants; a host of friends; and her business partner, housemate and verbal sparring partner, Nancy Lloyd.

A memorial will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Oysterville Church. 

Donations may be made to the South Pacific County Humane Society, P.O. Box 101, Long Beach, WA 98631, or a charity of one’s choice. 

Penttila’s Chapel by The Sea in Long Beach, Wash., is in charge of the arrangements. An online guest book is available at www.penttilaschapel.com

To plant a tree in memory of Gwendolyn Newton as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.


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