Archibald Randolph “Arch” Newton III, 91, of Evanston, IL, formerly of Emlenton, passed away Monday, July 6th at Westminster Place Village.
Born on April 22, 1929 to Archibald R. Jr. and Rachael Place Newton of Emlenton, he attended the Emlenton Public Grade and High Schools, and graduated from the Mercersburg Academy in 1947. Arch graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1951 with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1953, he graduated from Chrysler Institute in Detroit, MI, with a Master of Automotive Engineering degree. For the next two years, Arch served as a Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, working as a Jet Engine contractor liaison officer. In 1965, Arch married Roberta Louise Esch, a music consultant in the Birmingham, Michigan school system, whom he had met in Detroit.
From 1955 to 1961, Arch was employed by Chrysler Corporation in Detroit as a Product Planning Engineer. He then worked with Westinghouse Corp., in Pittsburgh, PA., as a contracting engineer for nuclear submarine components for the U. S. Navy. In 1963, he returned to his hometown of Emlenton to join with several of his former schoolmates, also returning natives, in a local specialty chemical manufacturing business: Industrial Colloids Corp. In 1967, they started a second business in Sharon and, after several years, the two companies were merged under the name Grafo Colloids Corp., and continued as such until its sale to Fuchs Lubricants in 1988. During those years, Arch worked as Director of R&D, and with his associates as a Director of the company. He retired with the 1988 sale of the business.
Arch sustained a life-long fascination with automobiles, including his first car, a Model T Ford, which he worked on until his departure for Detroit. His pleasure in maintaining older vehicles never ceased. His restoration enjoyment extended to many antique mechanical systems, including phonographs and player pianos. For several years after his return to Emlenton, Arch ran a side business of restoring and selling antique player pianos with a storefront on Emlenton’s main street. His enjoyment of players and old piano rolls never ceased.
Arch’s return to Emlenton awakened his love of its stories and history. That interest was instilled by his parents. His father, Archie, was a lifelong native, who often recounted entertaining – if not always complimentary – stories of the town’s many colorful and talented characters. His mother, Rae, had been a newspaper reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and editor of Womens’ Opinion, and continued writing for the local Emlenton News and other area papers. Arch absorbed and fell heir to much of that rich history in letters, news articles and well-labelled photographs and served as an informal Emlenton ‘town historian’ throughout his life.
Arch was active in his home church, the Emlenton First Presbyterian Church. He later served as a member of the Board of Elders, and as Clerk of Session. He also served a term as Moderator of the Lake Erie Presbytery. For a time, he, his wife Roberta, and son Todd, were members of the Second Presbyterian Church of Oil City, where Arch also served as an Elder.
During his life, Arch supported many initiatives and organizations. Upon his return, he served on the newly-formed Emlenton Planning Commission, coordinating community planning with then-forming Venango County Planning Commission. In 1980, he became active in fund-raising to establish a local Medical facility; now operated by UPMC Northwest as the Emlenton Family Practice Center. He then served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Borough-owned facility. Arch was a member of Allegheny Valley Lodge No. 552, F&AM (now the Allegheny Valley-Parker City Lodge No.521) and served in the office of Master of the Lodge in 1971. Arch was active with the Venango Museum of Art, Science, and Industry, The DeBence Antique Music Museum, and the local Emlenton Pumping Jack Museum. He also served on the boards of the Venango Visiting Nurses Foundation and the Northwest Hospital Foundation. He and his wife, Roberta, also served as founding members of the Allegheny Riverstone Center of the Arts, in Foxburg.
Surviving, in addition to his wife, Roberta, is their son, Randolph Todd (Sharon Wolf) Newton; grandchildren: Elias Wolf Newton and Esmee Eliza Newton. In 2010, Arch and Roberta moved from Emlenton to Westminster Place Village in Evanston, Illinois, to be near their son Todd and his family.
Friends will be received at the Hile Funeral Home Inc., 1204 Kerr Avenue, Emlenton, from Noon – 2 p.m. and 6 – 8 p.m. on Friday, July 31. A graveside service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 1 in the Emlenton Cemetery with the Rev. Dr. Darrell Knopp, pastor of the Emlenton Presbyterian Church, presiding. Interment will follow in the Emlenton Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Boys and Girls Club, PO Box 2, Emlenton, PA 16373. Condolences may be sent by visiting www.hilefh.com.