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Newton George Africa Jr.

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BENNINGTON -- Newton Africa, 83, died May 9, 2005, at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington where he had lived for almost three years.

Newt was born in Port Chester, N.Y., Aug. 25, 1921, the son of Newton G. and Mildred Whalley Africa.

He attended schools in Port Chester and Rye, leaving his formal education early to join the U.S. Navy. He was trained as a boiler maker and was assigned to several different destroyer class ships during his duty.

His first duty was aboard the USS Kearny DD 432 which performed neutrality patrol in the North Atlantic until being torpedoed by a U-boat Oct. 17, 1941. This event preceded the U.S. entering World War II. Subsequent to his time on the Kearny, Newt sailed on the USS Willey in the Pacific Theater and on several other destroyers.

He always dreamed of the opportunity to return to Trinadad and visit some of his calmer ports of call.

Upon leaving the service, Newt returned home to Port Chester and married Marguerite Ellingham at Christ’s Church in Rye. They started a family and Newt started a business as a painter and wallpaper hanger.

In 1953, Newt was lured back to the Woodstock-Reading area of Vermont which he had visited in his youth. He bought a house in Woodstock on Church Hill Road adjacent to the Townsend Farm and moved his family to Vermont with his old Buick and a U-Haul trailer, one load at a time.

He started his painting business and he and Marge worked hard adjusting to their move to Vermont. They became members of the Episcopal Church and made many friendships within the community.

In 1962, Newt moved to Woodstock Village, first to Linden Hill and then to Highland Avenue where he purchased a home. He continued painting and decorating and billed himself as Woodstock’s most independent painter. That was certainly true.

He had a firm respect for his country, flag and fellow veterans and he participated with various organizations. He enjoyed his children and their friends and in his own way he looked out for many.

At this same time he served as a Woodstock Village trustee. Key issues at the time were a proposed merger between the town and village and where to place street lights throughout the village. Newt took this role seriously and obviously enjoyed the time.

Newt was predeceased in 2002 by his wife, Marge, and in 2005 by his sister, Mildred.

He is survived by his daughter, Shelley Africa-Floyd of Salisbury, N.C.; his son, George and his wife Gail of Marshfield; and grandchildren, Alex of Marshfield, Amy of Shelburne and Adam and his wife Leah of Seattle, Wash.

A private service will be held by the family. Memorial contributions in Newt’s memory may be made to the Visiting Nurse’s Association or the Woodstock Senior Center in care of the Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, 213 West Main St., Bennington, VT 05201. May he ride forever on the waves of the oceans he so enjoyed!

To send condolences to the family of Newton Africa, please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.
Published in Bennington Banner on May 13, 2005
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