Leonard 'Bunny' Newton


Leonard Thomas 'Bunny' Newton passed away January 27, 2019 following an extended illness.
He was born on January 5, 1923, in McAlester, Okla., to Ora and George Newton.
Bunny was preceded in death by his parents, Ora and George; brothers, George, Wendell and Bill; a sister, Carol; and his son, Jef, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1985.
Bunny graduated from McAlester (Okla.) High School in 1940 and from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1942. He was drafted out of the University of Oklahoma in January of 1943, then discharged after the war in January of 1946. All four brothers served overseas in World War II and returned home safely.
Bunny attended Bradley University, in Peoria, Ill., in the school of Horology for two years, studying watchmaking, jewelry repair, manufacturing and hand engraving. He then returned to Joplin to work with his father, George, at Newton's Jewelers, until his death in 1962, when Bunny carried on with the family business.
Surviving is his wife, Jane; sons, Brian and wife, Peggy, Joplin, Bruce Newton, Joplin; six grandchildren, Sam Newton, Jessica Kienenberger, James Newton, all of Joplin, Jared Davis, Combine, Texas, Lacey Tidwell, Bella Vista, Ark., Aubrey Johnson, Bentonville, Ark.; 11 great- grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews.
Bunny served as vice president and president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce (JACC), past city council member, member of the Board of Directors of Downtown Joplin Association, member of the Airport Board and numerous other city committees. Mr. Newton and a local group of businessmen traveled to Germany to help bring over F.A.G. Bearing to Joplin. He loved to travel and he was happiest when he was flying his own plane, doing a few stunts and floating through the clouds.
Bunny and his family have traveled around the world for many years, buying diamonds, pearls, gold and precious gemstones for the family business. Bunny's son, Brian and wife, Peggy, will continue to operate the family business, Newton's Jewelers.
The family would like to express a heartfelt thank you to Oake Pointe Assisted Living of Neosho and Avalon Hospice for their excellent care of Mr. Newton.
A memorial visitation is planned for Saturday from 3-4 p.m. at College Heights Christian Church. A private family memorial service, with military honors, is being planned for Sunday with Rev. Gary Shaw and Rev. Brock Watson officiating. Music will be provided by longtime friend, Paul Thomas of Paul Thomas Funeral Home, Miami, Okla.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Ascent Recovery, PO Box 4368, Joplin, Missouri, 64803.
Arrangements are under the direction of Parker Mortuary.
Published on January 30, 2019
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5 posts

Cecily Noel
Feb 09, 2019
Bruce, so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. I hope you and your family are doing ok
Terrian Wilson Williams
Feb 02, 2019
I've known Bunny since the 60's, as a child---my Mom was always going to Newton's to buy beautiful jewelry he would sell. He was a very kind man and will be missed greatly. Praying for the family.
Stan Patterson
Feb 02, 2019
Bunny will be missed. A great guy and friend for many years. Prayers to the family.
Gayle Fahrenbruch
Feb 01, 2019
I didn't know Mr. Newton personally but interacted with him at Newton Jewelers. My then 5th grade daughter and I went to have a watch crystal replaced. He generously gave his time and when I asked how much we owed, he replied that there was no charge. That was a kind gesture that I never forgot.
Shirley Long
Jan 30, 2019
I can remember just sitting and talking to Bunny about his many adventures. For myself his smile when he would be talking about his family was wonderful to see. My Newton's family has my deepest sympathies & heatfelt condolences. He was definitely one of kind who will be missed.