Dorothy Elizabeth Newton of Oak Bluffs and Port St. Lucie, Fla., died Jan. 17, 2017. She was born in the Hebrides of Scotland, and raised by her mother, Lily Jessop Wilson, and her grandfather, Henry J. Wilson, in Merseyside, England.
Dorothy’s grandfather was a contractor, and also owed a large hardware store. Dorothy would tell stories that as a young girl, she would help out in the store and would go out to sell soap house to house, and collect rents.
Her grandfather, whom she loved very much, had a property on a river in Chester. As a young girl, Dorothy would ride her bicycle to Chester — 40 miles, she used to say — with her little schipperke in a knapsack!
She was proud to have belonged to the Girl Guides (the U.K. equivalent of our Girl Scouts). She recounted stories of being strafed during WWII, and as a young woman, held a civilian support position at an RAF air base. Shortly after the war, she moved to the States.
Dorothy first met her husband, Tom Newton, in New York State in 1966 through a mutual friend. He had an AKC German shepherd bitch that he wanted to breed, and Dorothy was a breeder, trainer, and judge who had a kennel with imported bloodlines from Germany.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Through Tom moved back to Massachusetts in 1968, Dorothy and he stayed in touch, and three years later, they were married. Through the years, Dorothy worked as a librarian in three Massachusetts prisons, starting with the women’s prison in Framingham, and was later “recruited” to organize the general and law libraries at MCI Concord, and recruited once again to literally build, that is, acquire all furnishings, books, etc., for the new library at the medium-security prison at MCI Shirley. Her inmate clerks, mostly lifers, politely named her “Maggie,” after Margaret Thatcher, who was also known as the “Iron Lady.” Dorothy served the commonwealth of Massachusetts in this role for 22 years, during which time she attained her master’s of library science, which enabled her to better apply for federal grant money for her libraries.
Dorothy was also a licensed real estate broker in Massachusetts, and along with the couple’s full-time jobs, they worked many years together for a family trust, marketing properties on Martha’s Vineyard, Las Cruces, N.M., and St. Croix, USVI. They were a great team, and their efforts allowed them to bring our dream of a home on the Vineyard and a home in Florida to fruition in December 1995.
It was the spring of 1996 when we found a small ad for ballroom dancing at St. Andrew’s, placed by our dear friend, the Rev. Jack Burton. That dance seed has flourished into a wonderful group of dancers now known as Ballroom Dance MV. Dorothy so loved this Island and the wonderful friends they came to know here. Whenever the couple were asked how long they had been dancing, Tom would always reply that Dorothy was born dancing!
One of the greatest blessings of the Newtons’ life has been the wonderful friends they made through church, Masonic/Shriner connections, and especially through dancing. Everyone loved Dorothy, and she would always grace them with her beautiful smile, a smile we will never forget!
Dorothy leaves behind her husband, Tom, married for 46 years this year; her beautiful daughter, Christine, and her husband, Scott; three loving granddaughters, Wendy, Robin, and Jennifer; and a handsome great-grandson, Brady.
She is sorely missed, and will always be loved. We know she is starting a new life and dancing with our Lord. God bless you, my Dorothy Elizabeth, I love you.
There will be a service at St. Andrew’s Church at 11 am on Saturday, June 17.
See “Obituaries” at martin-funeral.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114, or St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 51 Winter St., Edgartown, MA 02539.