Special to The Citizen
Floyd Childs Newton, Jr., age 99, passed away on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at his residence. He was born on February 17, 1918 in Morgan County, Georgia, near the community of Pennington, Georgia. He was the third of five children of Floyd Childs Newton and Mary Walton Trammell Newton. His father was a Master Farmer and Floyd Newton Jr. spent his early years living and working on his family farm. He attended grammar school in a one room school house in the community of Pennington. When he had learned all he could in Pennington, he moved into the town of Madison to attend Junior High, living first with his maternal grandmother Mrs. Lee Trammell. Soon after that, he moved down Academy Street to his paternal grandmother’s house, “Boxwood,” to live with her and his Aunt “Kittie” Newton. Later in life, Boxwood would become his home in retirement in Madison.
After graduating from high school in Morgan County as class valedictorian, he attended the University of Georgia in Athens, where he was the seventh consecutive generation of the Newton Family to attend the University. He was a member and officer of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity, serving as its Vice President his senior year, and was a member of Sphinx, ODK, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and the Gridiron Secret Society (“Sic Vos Non Vobis”). He was the Cadet Colonel and Corps Commandant of the ROTC at the University in his senior year and was awarded an Officer’s Commission in the Army Reserves. He was also Editor in Chief of the Pandora, the yearbook of the University. He was a nominee from the State of Georgia for a Rhodes Scholarship in his Senior Year and graduated in the Class of 1939.
Following his graduation, he was offered a scholarship to attend the Harvard Business School. Immediately after graduating from Harvard in the spring of 1941, he was called into service as a Lieutenant in the Army Reserves. He was stationed in Washington at the Pentagon as part of the Signal Corps, working under the Lend-Lease Act and other programs to support future Allies. He made numerous trips to London to assist the British war effort prior to the United States Declaration of War. After the formal Declaration of War, he served in London, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and finally in Germany after VE Day. His primary responsibility in the European Theatre was supplying the non-U.S. members of the Allied Armed Forces. Over his service career he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at the time of his discharge in 1946. He received numerous decorations, including the French Croix de Guerre, the Medalha de Guerra from Brazil and the Legion of Merit from the United States for exceptional meritorious conduct in the performance of services to the United States Armed Forces.
Following the war, he returned to Georgia. He had worked at the Trust Company of Georgia during the summer while he was in business school. Upon returning from Europe, Trust Company recommended that he go to work for one of the Company Directors until the economy absorbed all of the returning servicemen, and he accepted a position in Griffin, GA in April 1946 with Dundee Mills, a towel manufacturer. Rather than returning to Trust Company as he had originally planned, he stayed at Dundee for over 40 years, retiring from Dundee after having served as its Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer. In Griffin, he met his future spouse Jean Hunt, the daughter of Dallas and Edna Hunt, and they were married in February 1951. They had three children, Jennie, Floyd III and Godfrey.
While in Griffin, Floyd was the Chairman of the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce, active with the Flint River Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the recipient of a Silver Beaver Award, and active in the First Baptist Church in Griffin, where he served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons and taught a Sunday School class for over 40 years. He was also a founding member of the Deck Club. Professionally, he was active with the National Association of Credit Managers and the Georgia Textile Manufacturers Association, where he was on the Board for many years and served as its President. He was also an active Board and Committee member of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, where he served as Chairman of the Tax and Legislative Committees.
Following his retirement in March 1988, he and Jean moved to Madison where they renovated and restored Boxwood, his grandmother’s and aunt’s house. Having returned to Madison, he took an active interest in and served as a Board member and Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Madison from 1983 until his death. He was also on the Board of the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center and active with the First Baptist Church of Madison continuing to teach from time to time the Adult Sunday School class originally started by his father. Before and after retirement, he took great pride in managing the family farm where he was born and his cattle herd. Throughout his life he was an avid bird hunter and fisherman, and continued his annual fly fishing trips to Alaska, and then Montana, into his early 90’s.
After Jean’s death in 2010, he continued to live at Boxwood. He was the last surviving child in his generation, outliving his older siblings Anna and John, and his younger siblings, Lee and Mary Walton. Floyd is survived by his three children Jennie Newton (Suzanne), Floyd Newton III (Katrina) and Godfrey Newton (Rebecca), and five granddaughters, Stephanie Bedard (Ed), Amanda Newton, Natalie Newton, McClain Newton and Walton Newton, all of Atlanta, GA. The family also expresses its special appreciation to Barbara Scott, who helped care for Jean until her death and then Floyd until the time of his death.
A graveside service for Floyd C. Newton, Jr. will be conducted on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at the historic Madison Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center or to the Madison Baptist Church.