Barbara Newell

  • "I didnt know this lady. I knew her son, David. David was..."
    - Steven Partridge
  • "John I miss her and you too. Regrets. Ralph"
    - Ralph Schmude
  • "John I have not had a recent update on your status. Ralph..."
  • "Searched for pictures Mathew had on his computer that he..."
    - M, M & M Huffman
  • "Oh, John--- Mathew and I have just now learned (from..."
    - M, M & M Huffman

Barbara W. Newell, a former 23-year resident of Anchorage, lost her 11-year battle with stage 4 ovarian cancer July 6, 2010. She died at her home in Medford, Ore., with John, her husband of 46 years, at her side. She was 68.

She was born in Kansas City, Mo., April 28, 1942, to Wayne and Ada Wehrle, both career educators.

In 1962, Barbara was an education major attending the University of Missouri. There she met John H. Newell, a business major. They married in December 1963.

Barbara put her education on hold to accompany John to Germany for his three-year tour of active duty as an artillery officer on the East/West German border from 1964 through 1966.

Upon returning to the states, John went to work for the Industrial Division of John Deere. They lived briefly in Salina, Kan., then Denver, Colo., and Seattle, Wash. In spring 1969, the family, which had grown to five, moved to Anchorage.

Barbara completed her education in Anchorage with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alaska and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Alaska Pacific University. From 1984 to 1992, she was a physical education/lifetime fitness instructor at Alaska Pacific University. Her students fondly referred to her Fitness for Life class as "Guilt for Life."

During her 23 years in Anchorage, she was an advocate for Anchorage schools, actively supported the establishment of the green belt and trail system and was actively involved in planning, development and political issues. She loved the outdoors, wilderness runs with friends and competitive 10k races with the "Fast Ladies." She loved Anchorage and Alaska.

She is survived by her husband, John of Medford; daughter, Jennifer Newell (West 1982) of North Hollywood, Calif.; son, John S. Newell (East 1985) of Juneau; daughter, Deborah (Newell) Sholtis (Steller 1988) of Sacramento, Calif.; brother, Tom Wehrle of Kansas City; sister, Deborah Willis of St. Louis, Mo.; and two granddaughters and a grandson.

She was preceded in death by her son David in January 1987 during his senior year at West High.

The family asks that donations be considered to the John Wayne Cancer Institute ( in remembrance of Barbara: "They accepted Barbara twice for extensive surgery at their excellent research and educational facility. Check them out online."

Please give John a call in Medford at 541-776-5833 to talk over the good old days in Alaska, the family says.

Published in Anchorage Daily News from July 24 to July 25, 2010