Dr. Weldon H. Newton was born and spent his early years on the family farm and ranch at Cross Cut, Texas in northern Brown County. He attended Cross Cut Schools through the seventh grade when the school consolidated with Cross Plains ISD from which he graduated as salutatorian in 1954.
Dr. Newton entered the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M University) in fall, 1954. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets and was selected outstanding freshman of “B” Infantry. He received a B.S. in Entomology in June, 1958, and they resided in Bryan until March, 1959 when he entered active military service in the U.S. Army Reserves. After active duty, they returned to Texas A&M to pursue an M.S. in Entomology which he received in January, 1961. He was employed by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in 1960 and served in the Department of Entomology until 1974. While in this position, he completed a Ph.D. in Entomology in 1969. As Extension Entomologist, he served as Project Leader for a staff of 15 other professional entomologists and worked in more than 200 Texas counties conducting educational programs in field crop, livestock, and public health insect control and management. He authored or co-authored more than 100 insect identification, management, and control publications. Dr. Newton took great pride in being among the early scientists who developed and conducted public educational programs for the highly successful Southwest Screwworm Eradication Program of the 1960’s.
Dr. Newton was commissioned as a 1st Lt. in the Army Medical Service Corps in 1961 and served in the famed 90th Infantry Division commanded by General Early Rudder who was the President of Texas A&M University. He was honorably discharged in 1966.
Dr. Newton came to Tarleton in 1974 as Head of the multidisciplinary Department of Agriculture when enrollment was less than 3,000 students. Growth during the 70’s and 80’s encouraged him and other administrators to develop increased student opportunities and options by adding courses and programs and by dividing the single department into three updated departments. Research-based M.S. and internship-based M. Ag. Degrees were also added to the offerings. After serving a year as Interim Head of the new Animal Science Department, he was promoted to Associate Dean of Agriculture, a position he held until his formal retirement in 1996, upon which he was named Professor Emeritus by the TAMUS Board of Regents. He continued to teach half-time until his final retirement in 2000. This concluded 42 years with the Texas A&M University System. He was privileged to serve under three TSU Presidents – Dr. W. O. Trogdon, Dr. Barry B. Thompson, and Dr. Dennis McCabe.
In addition to serving Tarleton and the TAMU System, Dr. Newton served his profession. He was Past-President of the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America, Past-President of the Southwester Entomological Society, and Past-President of the Central Texas Chapter of the American Registry of Professional Entomologists. He was also Past-Chairman of the National Professional Training, Standards and Status Committee of the Entomological Society.
Dr. Newton has enjoyed his retirement time and continued involvement with TSU. He was several times Past-President of the TSU Retirees Association, member of Erath County Association of Retired School Employees, TSU Texan Club, TSU Ultra Club, Central Texas Fine Arts Council, the President’s Circle, COLFA Dean’s Circle, and the TSU Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors. He was also named TSU Distinguished Faculty member of 2010. He was a Master Mason, Gideon, and active member and Deacon of First Baptist Church-Stephenville.
Weldon was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years, Cynthia, and two brothers and a sister. Survivors include sister Anita Lane and Joe of Stephenville, a sister-in-law, Madeline Newton of Weatherford, numerous nieces and nephews, a daughter and grandson, Angela and Brandon Barraclough of Euless, a son and family, Jon Newton and wife, Christine, and granddaughters Allison of Arlington and Paige Burk Adams and husband Landan of Granbury.
Visitation will be held at Lacy Funeral Home – Stephenville on Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 5:00-7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a gift to the Lewis and Ina Newton memorial Scholarship at Tarleton in honor of Weldon and Anita’s parents.
Services will be at First Baptist Church at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, February 19, 2018, with Dr. Ken May officiating. Burial will be at Cross Cut Cemetery at 2:00 p.m.