Like thousands of the “Greatest Generation,” Les Newton took part in an important part of American history. Then he came home to Oregon and became a large part of Warrenton history.

Newton’s World War II contribution included serving as a flight mechanic for Adm. James Kaufman. His crew flew the admiral when he signed the Japanese surrender papers Sept. 2, 1945.

Returning home from the Navy, Newton opened Warrenton Auto and Marine Repair in 1959 and founded Warrenton Auto Parts, which became Napa. He retired from the repair business in 1997.

He served on the Warrenton City Commission for 26 years, including 16 as mayor.

“Les was born during the Great Depression and he quickly learned life wasn’t easy for him,” said Gil Gramson, former city manager and later mayor of Warrenton. “He moved to Warrenton, went to work, and started his own business.

“He got involved with the city in the early 1970s and really knew the value of a hard-earned dollar because of how he grew up. So he was always concerned with the taxpayer’s dollar and protected it like it was his own, careful with how the city spent it. He was a real good friend who made a real impact on the community.”

Newton and his wife, Ruth, were married for 63 years.

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