In the wake of Gloria Newton’s death, the nonprofit community remembered her compassion, grace and gratitude.
On every good team each person contributes a signature ingredient, and in the case of philanthropist couple Gloria and Bill Newton, she added warmth to the mix.
“Her generosity and her heart guided everything that they did as a couple,” said Katharine Conover, executive director of the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole. “Virtually everywhere you look in Jackson Hole there is something that resulted from their generosity.”
The family-written obituary tribute to Newton, who died at home May 29 at age 84, can be found here.
Among the extraordinary gifts the Newtons gave was money to purchase land and, with other donors, build an office and six-bedroom shelter for the Community Safety Network.
“We were searching for a permanent location for the shelter,” said Sharel Lund, a former board member and executive director who led the capital campaign effort for the nonprofit that serves survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. “It caught their attention.”
The Newtons listened intently as Safety Network officials explained the program, Lund said.
“The way they took in the issues of violence, fear and empowerment we were working with, you could tell how impacted they were,” Lund said. “They made these really transformational gifts. Bill gave his strategy and business sense and compassion, and Gloria would come alongside and have so much heart. She was very interested in volunteers and staff, and wanted to make sure they knew how much they were appreciated.”
Some time later, reflecting on the monumental achievement of building a first-class facility, Community Safety Network board members asked the couple if they would allow the shelter to bear their name. After reflection, they agreed. A modest plaque inside the building’s courtyard bears the name: The Newton House of Hope.
Every time Newton saw Carol Bowers, who served Safety Network clients for two decades, “Gloria always made me feel special,” Bowers said in a Facebook tribute, “with a genuine smile and warm hug.”
Ed Liebzeit first met Newton when they served together in the late 1990s on the board of the St. John’s Hospital Foundation. Newton always looked for the bright side of a situation, Liebzeit said, and cared about those less fortunate.
“Gloria cared about people and really wanted to make sure that someone was looking after everyone,” Liebzeit said. “She always wanted to make sure that people were getting the help that they needed.”
When Liebzeit and his wife, Carole, would host the Newtons for dinner at their home, their conversations were always lively and focused on people.
“Gloria always wanted to know about good things going on,” Liebzeit said, “how people were being helped. That was very important to her.”
The couple served as co-challengers in the wildly successful Old Bill’s Fun Run.
Beyond her exemplary philanthropy, Newton imparted personal lessons, Conover said.
“She taught me to be grateful all the time,” Conover said. “She used to say, ‘I’m grateful when all the lights on Broadway are green in my favor.’ She would comment on every aspect of life that made her happy, that brought her joy.
“She really made me aware of all those little things that we inevitably take for granted until we stop a moment and look around us,” she said. “She had been sick for a long time, but never lost that spirit. She spent, it seemed like, all her waking hours thanking other people, when she, in turn, was the one we should have all been thanking.”