The Edmond Sun
Waneuma “Wanda” Earlene Ford Newton, 93, formerly of Bristow, died August 12, 2013, in Edmond, Okla. She was born in Bristow, February 8, 1920, to Earl Walter and Nellie Agnes Strein Ford and lived there most of her life. Wanda graduated from Bristow Public Schools, Bristow Junior College, and then Oklahoma A&M (OSU) where she earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science.
Wanda married William “Bill” Hempstead Newton on June 1, 1942. Wanda taught tap, ballet, and ballroom and also danced with the Tulsa Opera Ballet. She choreographed countless school and community variety shows.
She taught school in Augusta, Kan., Tulsa, Okla. and in Bristow schools before retiring. During those years, Wanda sponsored many school clubs and programs including Teen Town for Bristow’s youth, Camp Fire Girls and Girl Scouts. Wanda taught Sunday school at the First United Methodist Church for 25 years, sponsored MYF, directed vacation Bible schools, and belonged to the Women’s Missionary Society.
Wanda was founder and co-director with Chuck West of the summer Bristow Day Camp and free swim program for 18 years where she taught life saving, first aid, and home nursing for the Red Cross.
She was a member of the Bristow Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the Bristow Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber’s Industrial Team, the Bristow Teachers’ Association, the Bristow Garden Club, the Bristow Education Foundation, the Bristow Arts and Humanities, the American Legion Auxiliary and was a charter member of the Bristow Historical Society. She was also past president of Oklahoma Retired Teachers’ Association, past chairwoman of the Central District of Special Education, and a member of the Creek County Teachers’ Association.
In 1988 Wanda was recognized as the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and the 1996 Wildflower Run was dedicated to her. In 1999 she was honored as one of the first recipients of the Bristow Education Foundation Hall of Fame. She was the 2002 recipient of the Bristow Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.
Wanda was interested in conservation of the environment, and enjoyed swimming, canoeing, bird watching, hiking, camping, painting, pottery, handicrafts, tennis, sewing, and playing the organ.
After Bill’s death in January 2008, Wanda moved to Edmond to be near one of her daughters where she was a member of the Edmond Newcomers Club, Edmond Republican Women, and New Covenant United Methodist Church.
Wanda is survived by two daughters, Peggye (Dennis) Wall of Tucson, Ariz., and Dr. Billye Peterson of Edmond; one grandson, Scott (Leah Harlow) Peterson of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Potomoc Falls, Va.; two great grandchildren, Jordan and Hunter Peterson of Hamilton, N.Y.; one step-grandson, Rusty (Tammy) Peterson, two step-great grandsons, Justin and Ryan Peterson, and one great great step-grandson, Mason Peterson, of Waveland, Miss.
A Celebration of Life service will be 10 a.m. Friday, August 23, at New Covenant United Methodist Church, 2700 S. Boulevard, Edmond, OK 73013. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Children’s Building Fund, New Covenant United Methodist Church. Private family interment is planned at the Bristow Cemetery. The family thanks the wonderful caregivers at Edmond’s Touchmark Memory Care Center, Bradford Village Nursing Home, and Choice Hospice.