Obituary provided by Ray’s Family
Much-loved husband, father and grandpa Ray C. Newton entered into the presence of the Lord April 10, 2023, after an excruciating battle with lung and bone cancer. He was 87.
A resident of Prescott since 1996, Ray was born Sept. 26, 1935, in Denver, Colorado. He married his college sweetheart Patty Boekhaus while they were attending Kansas State University at Fort Hayes, and the two were married for more than 66 years.
He went on to earn additional degrees from South Dakota State University and the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in English, journalism and mass communications.
Most of Ray’s career was spent in higher education as a university professor at New Mexico Highlands University (1961-1972) and Northern Arizona University (1973-2000). He retired having served as chairman of the Journalism and Mass Communications department, dean of the College of Creative and Communication Arts and eventually the assistant to the president.
Retirement was not in his blood, however, and Ray continued to consult and serve on numerous local boards, as well as write for local publications including Prescott Living, clear up until his death.
If you asked him what was important, his family was at the top of his list.
Spending time together during holidays and pulling all of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren together for annual exciting trips around the world were his joy. He and Patty also traveled extensively with family and friends. Ray treasured family relationships, and his eyes lit up with pride when he spoke of them. He loved being “Grampa” to his four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Laughter and joy were a huge part of family gatherings.
Ray valued mentoring countless former students, many of whom he has been in touch with for decades. He also enjoyed camping and fly fishing, golf, coaching children and youth, and promoting educational opportunities by endowing scholarships throughout the state.
It’s difficult to pick and choose from the dozens of awards and recognitions he received, which included one of 10 “Outstanding Educators of America” awards, Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Faculty awards,
and National Coordinator and Organizer of writing workshops for “Reader’s Digest.”
The last months of Ray’s life brought great joy amidst the physical pain, when God became real to him and he professed faith in Jesus as his Savior. The new relationship was on his mind frequently in his last month.
Ray is survived by his wife, Patty; daughters, Sheri Anderson and husband Dana of Tucson; Lynn Penner and husband Brad, of Prescott; grandchildren, Michael Newton of Virginia, Jessica Morrison (Aaron) of Albuquerque, Christie Schafer (Phil) of Prescott, and Daniel Penner (Cartie) of Katy, Texas; and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, William, in 1986.
A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER
Ray was a very special person to me and the ROX Media team.
He was really the influence that brought our company to Prescott to roll out Prescott LIVING Magazine.
I met him through the City of Prescott Tourism Office in 2015 because he was the writer hired by the city for the visitor guide we were publishing. Since then, he consistently messaged me about bringing our other publications, specifically our LIVING magazine, to Prescott, which we finally did in 2017 with his assistance.
At that time, he ran around
town with me, introducing me to everyone and really ran alongside us to make sure we were successful — and we were, with his efforts! I credit Ray Newton for the success of Prescott LIVING Magazine, which led to more magazines and a full office in Prescott.
Personally, Ray was a special person as well. He always checked on me and my staff, making sure that we and our families were doing well. He knew the names of our kids and followed their ventures. I especially loved talking to Ray about travel. He is an inspiring person who was married to Patty for 66 years, and he often brought her along to lunch and get-togethers, which was special.
He will be sorely missed and certainly not forgotten.
— Elaine Earle, Publisher, Prescott LIVING Magazine and Owner, ROX Media