It’s been a sad week at The Flume, as word of Walter Newton’s death has been difficult to digest.
Newton, who served as a writer and editor at The Flume before his retirement in the summer of 2020, bravely battled a variety of health issues for several years before his passing on April 20.
Man of many interests
Newton was a multi-talented man with many interests. Before becoming involved with journalism, he compiled an impressive resume as an actor and director of stage productions.
Those closest to him were often treated to impromptu magic tricks, as Walter had both a reverence and talent for the art of deception and was an accomplished magician.
“A good magician never reveals the secrets of deception,” he used to say.
A man of keen intellect, Newton was fascinated with the mechanical aspects of pinball machines. In retirement, he enjoyed refurbishing older models of the machines at his home in Conifer.
Newton was also a collector of coins and a skilled photographer. He also had an insatiable appetite for historical studies, especially those pertaining to the Middle East. He made numerous trips to Isreal and thoroughly enjoyed sharing his experiences and knowledge of the region.
Newton was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and was quick to point out that his frank demeanor had been been honestly obtained as a result of his time there.
“I’m going to say what I think without pulling any punches because, after all, I am from Brooklyn,” he would often say.
As an editor, Newton was highly-principled and wholly committed to balance and fairness. He maintained those standards with an iron fist, much to the benefit of the paper and its readers.
“Our goal is to provide equal coverage, and to give both sides of the political spectrum their due space in editorial portions of the paper,” he said. “And under no circumstances will we quote anonymous sources,” he asserted. “Other news organizations might, but we’re not doing it here. If a quote doesn’t originate from a legitimate, discernable source, then it isn’t news as far as The Flume is concerned.”
One always knew where they stood with Newton, and if they didn’t, he had no qualms about clarifying his position with a fearless form of frankness all his own.
The softer side
Beneath Newton’s tough exterior and straight-ahead style of communication, however, was a much softer side. Fresh off a divorce from a 25-year marriage, I wandered into Walter’s office seeking employment in 2018. He could tell I was eager to get to work, and that I could use a friend at the time.
He hired me on the spot and laid out expectations in no uncertain terms. He was considtent in his enforcement of expectaions, to be sure, but even more consistent in his friendship, loyalty and support of me both personally and professionally.
We quickly became lifelong friends and remained as such until his passing. I was fortunate enough to know a side of Walter that many others didn’t, and it is his generosity and kindness is what I will remember above all else.
So long, Walter. You were one of a kind, and you did it your way. I’m better for having known you, and will always cherish the memory of our friendship.