Mr. Kenneth W. Newton, 85, peacefully passed on April 28, 2015. A celebration of his life will be held at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at 10:00 am in the Zuni Ballroom.
He leaves his three daughters, Gina Newton-Yarber and husband, Scott Yarber, Kenna Bolan and husband, Bruce Bolan, and Delese Newton Dellios, sister Myra Skau, eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and three nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, Olma and Eugene Newton.
Ken, a long time Santa Fe resident, was born May 31, 1929 to Eugene and Olma Newton in Big Spring, Texas. He graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 1954. He served in the US Army and received an honorable discharge in 1953. Ken then moved to Ruidoso, NM and lived there many years where he taught school, coached multiple sports, owned and operated numerous businesses and raised his children.
Ken traveled a long and successful highway since his graduation from Eastern New Mexico University. He was an athlete, entrepreneur, husband, father, brother, grandfather, uncle and friend. He loved music, from Spanish classical guitar and mariachis, to The Rat Pack. Ken could salsa the night away with the best of them. When he wasn't working, he could always be found on the golf course, tennis court or enjoying a good cocktail with his woman, friends or family.
Ken's eternal optimism and enthusiasm were a delight to be around. His bright blue eyes and contagious smile, friendly chuckle and charming personality lit up any room. He made you feel better with even the briefest encounter.
His life wasn't easy, born into the Great Depression, he contributed to the family by shining shoes at 9 years old. By the time he was 12, he had other boys working his stands. Ken served as a counter intelligence agent in Philadelphia for the US Army during the Korean Conflict. During his service time, he played shortstop for a minor league baseball team (until his commanding officer said he needed to get his name out of the newspaper!) He and his former wife, Ada Lu Newton were involved in the ownership and operation of the Mountain View drive-in theater, Navajo Lodge, Noisy Water Lodge and the Patio Restaurant in Ruidoso. Ken was a beloved teacher and coach at Ruidoso High School. He ran concessions operations at Ruidoso Downs, Santa Fe Downs and Delta Downs. Ken was best known as the owner of the Downs at Santa Fe and was a great advocate for racing.
As an expression of his interest in local and state community, Ken held the following positions.
Ruidoso Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors
Ruidoso Security Bank, Board of Directors
Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, member
Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors
New Mexico Governor's Commission on Higher Education
New Mexico Economic Development and Tourism Board
Ken's business sense, integrity and interest in New Mexico have earned him an impeccable reputation throughout the state as a successful businessman. Ken was a leader and promoter for the New Mexico Horse Racing Industry for much of his life. His tireless work to protect the racing industry through legislation contributed greatly to the survival of the industry in New Mexico. He was well respected by legislators, horsemen, breeders, and communities where he worked, and was loved by his students, employees, patrons and friends.
Ken was a wonderful father and provider for his three daughters and would drop everything to come to their aid. He taught them value of hard work, to be non-judgmental, to be an optimist, and to never ever give up on your dreams. Ken's generosity toward his family and close friends had no bounds.
Ken was a long time supporter of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Fe, Keep Santa Fe Beautiful, and Eastern New Mexico University. The family requests donations, in lieu of flowers, to be made to the above organizations.
Strong-Thorne Life Events Center
1100 Coal Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106