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In Memory of . . . James Chandler “Chan” Newton (1945- 2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Thursday, July 21, 2011
The Rev. James Chandler "Chan” Newton died on May 11, 2011. He was 66 years old.

Rev. Newton was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on January 26, 1945, to James F. and Ruth (Marden) Newton. Rev. Newton graduated from Salem High School in 1962, Dartmouth College in 1966, and Crane Theological Seminary at Tuft’s University and Boston University School of Divinity in 1969 upon receiving his Master’s of Divinity. He was ordained by the Church of the Larger Fellowship in Boston, MA on July 19, 1969.

His first ministry was raising and caring for sixteen foster children at his Plowshares Farm in Raymond, N.H. Rev. Newton trained to be an EMT for the Raymond Ambulance Service and worked as an EMT Chaplain for the local volunteer ambulance for 20 years. He became a mental health case worker at Hampstead State Hospital in Hampstead, N.H. and continued to do pastoral counseling, weddings, funerals, and baptisms for dozens of people in the wider community in what he referred to as a "parish without walls.” In 1991 Rev. Newton became Hospice Chaplain at Seacoast Hospice in Exeter, N.H. He also worked with children and teens in the "Stepping Stones" and "Bridges" grief support programs there. In 1995, he went to work for the Manchester VNA Home Health and Hospice as the Spiritual Care Coordinator, and founded "Camp Phoenix", a summer camp for grieving children and their families. He was awarded "The Good Samaritan Award" by the Manchester Counseling Center. He also worked as a hospital chaplain at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester. In 2006, he became Spiritual Care Director at Mary Immaculate Health Care in Lawrence, MA.

In addition to his extensive lifetime of work as a community minister, he was active in many other pursuits. He was Moderator of the Raymond, NH School District. He raised award-winning goats; many of which went to the Heifer Project and were shipped around the world. Rev. Newton was presented the Medal of Honor by the "Union Leader" and "New Hampshire Sunday News" for an "Outstanding Act of Heroism" in 1992. He also had a small wood business with his son, Dewitt. His passions included: the environment, writing poems and stories, collecting humorous and true life stories from various people he met, woodworking, working in the woods, and, of course, spending time with his family and friends.

Rev. Newton is survived by his wife of 15 years, The Reverend Dr. Virginia (Trask) Jones Newton of Center Sandwich; his daughter, Heather Keymba and her husband Henry of Huntsville, Ala; a step-son, Troy Miller and his wife Julie of Harpers Ferry, W.V.; a sister, Roberta Newton Brown of Watertown; five foster children whom he raised, Janice Manley of Scarborough, Maine, Lisa Cheney of Dover, N.H., David McMillan of Franklin, N.H., David Baldasaro of Plainville, and Michael Twomey of Phoenix; five grandchildren; nieces, nephews, and longtime friends. He was predeceased by two sons, Benjamin Newton and Dewitt Newton.

A memorial gathering for Rev. James Chandler "Chan” Newton took place on Saturday, May 28, at the Manchester Unitarian Universalist Church, 669 Union St., Manchester, NH. A Memorial Service celebrating his life was held the following day, Sunday, May 29 at the church. Donations on behalf of Rev. Newton may be made to the Bereavement Programs, VNA of Manchester and Southern NH, 33 South Commercial St., Suite 401, Manchester, NH 03101, Attention Linda Krisch.

Please send messages of condolence to Rev. Dr. Virginia Jones Newton, 36 Heritage Woods, Center Sandwich, NH 03227.

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