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Obituaries

Elizabeth Ann Fields Kelly Newton

Elizabeth Ann Fields Kelly Newton

JUNE 27, 1931 – JANUARY 2, 2022

 

Elizabeth Ann Fields Kelly Newton died peacefully at home, January 2, 2022. She was born on June 27, 1931 to Edgar Joseph Kelly and Leola Pilcher Kelly in New Orleans, LA. Ann was the third child and 2nd daughter in the family of 4 children. She went to Henry W. Allen Elementary School, and took herself to church alone at the age of six by riding the trolley. She moved to Washington, D. C., where her mother was transferred with the Navy Department in 1941. In Washington she attended Alice Deal Jr. High School for 9th grade, and Woodrow Wilson Sr. High School, graduating 12th in her class of 350 and winning a full tuition scholarship to Smith College in Northampton, MA.

While at Smith, Ann met Bob, a Yale graduate attending Yale Divinity School, when the music stopped and they were dancing together at a Christian Student Retreat. That was the first time he showed her the stars. They married in 1951 after her sophomore year and both transferred to New York City where Ann finished at Barnard College and Bob attended Union Theological Seminary. Ann studied with Ursula Niebuhr, wife of Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich in getting her undergraduate degree in Religion. While Bob worked on his Ph.D. at Columbia, Ann received her MA degree in Religion from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia. Ann worked as the Assistant to the Protestant Chaplain at Columbia for 2 years. During this time, Beth was born (1955) and Bob was recruited to come to Greencastle to teach at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN (1956). Son Christopher joined the family in 1962. There are 3 grandchildren: Robert, Harriet, and Emma.

During child rearing years Ann taught Headstart, Nursery School at Gobin United Methodist Church and, for 8 different years, at DePauw University, teaching overflow classes in Old and New Testament. Also during this time, Ann and Bob collaborated on writing curriculum for the United Methodist Church for teachers and students in the Nursery Class and a Parent Handbook for 5th and 6th grade students. These were used across the United States in Methodist Church Sunday School classes and parent groups.

With both children in school full time, Ann sought more academic degrees. She obtained a second Master’s degree from Butler University in Personality Theory and Religion and eventually received her MSW from IU School of Social Work in Mental Health of Children and Families. This led to her work with Methodist Hospital’s Buchanan Counseling Center for 8 years, Cummins Mental Health Center for 6 years, and Old National Trail for 10 years, where she served as social worker to children with special needs. As she became more involved with the schools and presenting Good Touch/Bad Touch Programs, she became aware of how widespread child sexual abuse was in the county. She started a sex offender program for the county and convinced Judge Vaughn to send over 350 men in 15 years for treatment from 1991-2005. She worked first with Martin Mishchler and then Dr. Hugh Hanlin as co-therapists. After retirement from the schools in 1998, she was appointed by Judge Headley in 2003 to the Putnam County Child Protection Team, where she served until her death.

On Bob’s several sabbaticals in Cambridge, England, Ann served internships at Brookside Child and Family Psychiatry, Douglas House Adolescent In-Patient Unit, and at the Adult Psychiatric Centre. She also taught Women’s Issues, and Working with Abused Children at the Evangelism Centre in Sidney, Australia.

Ann was also very active in the Greencastle community serving as Sunday school teacher at Gobin UMC; as the President, co-President, secretary at various times for the League of Women Voters; IN State Treasurer of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists; as secretary of the NAACP Greencastle Branch; as Business and Professional Women’s legislative chair; as A-Way Home Shelter President of the Advisory Board; as Putnam County Red Cross Disaster Chair and for the national Red Cross being sent to 7 different disasters in the states and Puerto Rico; on Commission on Religion and Race for the Indiana UMC; on the West District Committee on Missions for the UMC; on the Mission Resource Team for the INUMC being sent 6 different times to Liberia and Sierra Leone after their civil war to teach churches how to help traumatized children; and on the INUMC Board of Missions Global Health Team for the UMC in charge of malaria education and prevention fund raising. She was a member of the Greencastle Kiwanis Club and formerly a member of the Leadership Team of Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.

Ann enjoyed travelling and reading as hobbies. She is survived by her daughter Beth Newton Watson (Ross Davies), her son Christopher Newton (Beth Ann Newton), grandchildren Robert Watson (Claire Dewey Watson), Harriet Watson and Emma Newton, and her brother Quentin T. Kelly of Hopewell, New Jersey; sisters-in-law Ellen Newton Chaplin and Evelyn Newton Parker, many nieces and nephews in Maryland; New York; Delaware; Nashville, TN; Nebraska; Ohio; South Dakota and South Carolina. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Edlea Kelly Jones, and her brother Kerwin Kelly, and by her beloved husband Rev. Dr. Robert D. Newton in February of 2020.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Bittles and Hurt for cremation. A Memorial Service will be held at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 29 at 2pm with calling at 1pm before the service.

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