Dr. Walter Monroe “Bill” Newton Jr., 85, of Southern Pines, passed peacefully at FirstHealth Hospice House on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
He was born Feb. 14, 1935, in Bennettsville, S.C., to the late Walter Monroe and Elisabeth Guerry Newton Sr. He graduated from The Citadel in 1957. He went on to study at the Medical College of South Carolina. On July 16, 1961, he married Deirdre Dundas and soon took up a medical internship in Richmond, Va. Bill served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and upon his return to the United States, moved to Columbia, S.C., with Deirdre. He then completed his general and plastic surgery training over the course of six years in Charleston and Irvine, Calif. In 1968, he returned to Vietnam as a surgeon via a State Department program to assist both military personnel and civilians in the city of Da Nang.
Bill and Deirdre moved to Pinehurst in 1969, when he took a position at the Surgical Clinic. They spent the 1970s and 1980s in Moore County, and in Albany, Ga., where he practiced plastic surgery. In 1978, he volunteered for one month as a doctor at the CARE hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. In 1986, Bill took the opportunity to re-enlist with the U.S. Army and became chief of plastic surgery at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu. He retired from the Army in 1997 with the rank of colonel. Upon his return to the mainland, he practiced emergency medicine in Bennettsville, S.C., until his retirement in 2003.
As a surgeon, Bill specialized in treating cleft lips and palates. He traveled the world with Operation Smile and other organizations treating children with these conditions, helping young people in China, Ecuador, Kenya, the Marshall Islands and Thailand. Bill was passionate about photography, and as a member of the New York City-based Explorers Club, traveled all over the world, visiting every continent, including Antarctica. His images were displayed at the Arts Council as well as at Laurie Deleot’s private gallery in Southern Pines.
A lifelong Democrat, Bill served two terms as the chairman of the Democratic Party of Moore County in the early 2000s.
Dr. Newton exhibited kindness, thoughtfulness and consideration for people all over the world, especially children.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Deirdre; children, Iva, Walter and Elisabeth (Matthew); grandchildren, Jack, Rosie, Sam, Savannah and Kirk; and great-grandchildren, Jean-Luc and Eloise.
His sister, Elisabeth Guerry Newton, predeceased him.
A small gathering to celebrate his life will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Boles Funeral Home, 425 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Southern Pines. The burial will immediately follow at the McCall Cemetery on North Cook Street in Bennettsville, S.C.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Operation Smile, an organization committed to correcting cleft palates. Donations may be made online at www.OperationSmile.org. Donations may also be made to the Marian Wright Edelman Public Library of Marlboro County, S.C. They can be contacted at their website, edelmanpubliclibrary.org/friends-of-the-library.
Online condolences may be made at www.bolesfuneralhome.com.
Services are entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.