|A love of life: Patsy Newton is at home in Conway|
|Saturday, 17 December 2011|
by Don Bingham
Everyone has a story, and Patsy Newton has a colorful history from her roots to present day – all revolving around her love for life, for family and for Conway.
Many of the 501 LIFE readers will remember Dr. H. L. Minton, Patsy’s father, who established the geography department at the University of Central Arkansas and then developed the extension program in later years. Pasty grew up playing on the steps of Old Main and attended the “Training School” during the Arkansas State Teachers College era, before moving on to Conway Public Schools.
Her younger years were spent in Conway, but her degree from UCA in 1952 (in home economics) led her to a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Birmingham in England in social studies and political science. Her love for music was also evident in the study of piano and organ – even today she can be heard playing Chopin, Bach and Scarlatti!
Patsy and her husband, Al Newton, a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD in physical chemistry from Oxford University, raised their five children in the Washington, D.C., area. The three boys and two girls are all professionals – one daughter was in the first class to graduate women from Princeton, and another daughter from Harvard. All five children are computer geniuses! Patsy and Al were married for almost 50 years before Al’s passing in 2003. Al’s work was with the CIA. Al and Patsy loved their children.
This, however, is just the beginning of Patsy Newton’s love for life! Her goal was to spend quality, one-on-one time with each of her children. This resulted in her being active in the things they all enjoyed. Pasty tells of the time she rode bicycles with one of their children on a 70-mile ride, the time she walked for three days with her daughter and the time she went on an extended camping trip from Washington, D.C., to San Diego! Skiing was a regular event for the Newton family too.
The morning I called Pasty to set up this interview, she had ridden her bicycle from The Village at Hendrix to Stoby’s! Over the weekend, Patsy hiked Petit Jean Mountain just for the delight of being out and enjoying living.
“I wanted to move back to Conway because of my ties and love for UCA,” Patsy said. “It has been such a thrill to see how the university has blossomed and how the community has grown.” Patsy just finished building her new home in The Village, complete with a brick-lined flower bed in the garden area with bricks from Minton Hall – the former UCA dormitory named in honor of her father.
“I wanted my children to know why I chose Conway for this time in my life, so I decided to invite them all for a visit,” Patsy said. “I want them to meet all my friends in the community and see what joy I have found in Conway.”
With all this activity – bike riding across Conway and hiking the nearest mountain peak – the amazing fact of it all is that Dec. 13 was Patsy’s 80th birthday – and she gave the party!
“We come from a strong pool of long years,” Patsy said. Her parents both lived into their 90s.
Patsy and her five children have also recorded a musical Christmas tape in years past, and Patsy is insistent that they come prepared to concertize!
During the past few months, Patsy was chair of a committee studying a specific project at the invitation of the board of trustees at UCA. She drove herself to Maryland to check on her family and a home there during the recent hurricane threat to the coast. She loves her new home in The Village and continues to contribute to the life and times of Conway.
501 LIFE wishes Patsy Newton many more years of life and a happy 80th birthday!