Melvin Frasier Newton was born on July 23, 1922, to Burr and Ethel Burdette Newton on the family farm in Ringgold county, Iowa. Always a ‘farm boy’ he attended country school and was active in 4-H and the family farming enterprise. He graduated from Diagonal high school as valedictorian of the class of 1939. Among his favorite high school memories were his associations with the Diagonal high school basketball teams of 1938 and 1939 which placed first and second, respectively, at the Iowa state basketball tournaments. After high school Melvin continued farming with his father and grandfather and eventually bought a farm adjoining theirs.
On September 1, 1946, Melvin was untied in marriage with Helen Hetzel of Mount Ayr, Iowa. They made their first home on the farm in Ringgold county and became parents of two sons and a daughter, Ted, Dan and Kay. Later Melvin received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees and school administrator certification from Iowa State University where he was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and several other scholastic honoraries.
When the family moved to Newton, Iowa in 1957, Melvin began his long association with the Newton schools, first as a teacher of vocational agriculture and then as a junior high counselor. His administrative duties began in 1965 and included a variety of responsibilities and titles over the years. He was principal of Thomas Jefferson school for five years and retired as superintendent of the Newton Community schools in 1988.
Melvin was an active and faithful member of the First United Methodist Church in Newton having served as a Stephen minister and as lay leader. He was an active proponent of many school bond issues and was a former member of the Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, the Jasper County Mental Health Board the Maytag Scholarship Committee, the School Administrators of Iowa, the National Elementary Principals Association and as an officer in the Newton Community Education Association. In retirement he was a member of the Retired School Personnel of Jasper County. His favorite pastime was playing golf.
Melvin was a devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather. In addition to his wife of 65 years, Helen Newton. The family consists of Ted and Joan Newton of Cincinnati, Ohio, Dan and Mary Newton of Newton, Iowa, Kay and David Peterson of Gainesville, Virginia, Lori and Kurt Koschnitzke and their children Max and Mara of New Canaan, Connecticut, Kyle and Melissa Newton and their daughter Kayla of Carlsbad, California, Juli and Ray Vasilas of San Marcos, California and Sarah, Brian and Kevin Newton of Newton, Iowa.
Death came to Melvin on Saturday evening, November 26, 2011, at his home in Park Centre in Newton. He was 89.
A memorial service was held December 2 at the First United Methodist Church in Newton. Burial will be held at a later date at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr.