Chester, PA (March 1993) - After an illness of more than six months, our father Wynter R. Newhouse1 passed away in Sacred Heart Hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania, on Saturday morning, February 27, 1993. Wynter is buried at Edgewood Memorial Cemetery in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.
Wynter was survived by his wife of 55 years Ruth, and by five sons, William, Geoffrey, Anthony, Dean and Guy, and one daughter, Jacqueline LeDuc. Wynter also had 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Wynter was a member of the 5th generation removed from Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780), who fought in the American Revolution. He grew up with his mother located primarily in Cleveland, Ohio. Due to his parents' separation before he was even born, he never knew his father.
As a youth, he maintained an adventuresome spirit. He often reminisced about long bicycle rides across Ohio, traveling between his mother's Ohio house and his aunt's house in Michigan. He once hopped a train to go to New York City; he rode in the coal car until the train resupplied itself with a fresh water supply. When thoroughly drenched with cold water, he slipped into the empty first class coach to dry out and get warm. As a young adult in the 1930s, he traveled west to California looking for jobs. On that trip, he was arrested in Ohio for riding the trains and spent a few nights in jail to get the best meals he had on the trip.
He was also an avid canoer. In his late teens, Wynter and a friend named Don Ross canoed down the Ohio River and Mississippi River to New Orleans. Once in New Orleans, they had to ditch the canoe due to its disrepair. On this trip, Wynter and Don Ross wanted to explore Texas, and Wynter wanted to possibly meet his father, who had moved to Mission, Texas, at the southernmost tip of Texas. However, according to Wynter wife Ruth, Don came down with malaria in New Orleans, so they turned back toward Ohio. They hopped trains for transportation on the return trip. Later, Wynter and Don's brother Doug Ross canoed across Lake Erie from Ohio to Ontario.
In November 1992, Wynter wrote briefly to his grandson Martin: "As for my youthful misadventures, they are mostly examples of what not to do and I don't recommend them to anybody for fun or whatever. The canoe trip Don Ross and I took down the Ohio & Mississippi Rivers had its good points but also hazards which we were just lucky to have survived. Our trip back to Cleveland from Texas via freight trains and by riding 'blind' on the steam locomotive pulling passenger trains was dirty and full of unforeseen difficulties. The Great Depression was at its worst. Literally thousands of unemployed men were riding the freight trains in and on top of box cars from one city to another looking for jobs everybody knew were non-existent. Sometimes they would just climb aboard and not be bothered. Other times railroad detectives would start at the front of the moving trains and work back toward the caboose, forcing the riders to jump off or go to the rear from car to car. The way to beat the detectives was, at least in theory, to get off and run beside the train until they went by, then get back of board. Trouble is, by that time the train would be moving at a pretty good clip and getting back on would take some doing or be impossible. Another way was to move back until the detectives themselves left the train which they usually did before the speed was too great or at some designated point where the engineer slowed to let them off."
Wynter went to college at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and he earned a master's degree in history. After college, he embarked on a career in newspaper journalism. First he worked for a newspaper in Springfield, Ohio. Then in Worcester, Massachusetts. Finally, he moved to Chester, PA, and commuted into Philadelphia, PA, to spend 25 years on the editorial staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The biggest personal challenge he faced during his years with the Inquirer his struggle in personally having a liberal political philosophy while working for an editorial board with a strictly conservative political philosophy.
From the Who's Who in America, 38th edition, 1974-1975, Volume 2, pg. 2280, published by Marquis Who's Who, Inc., 200 East Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60611 comes the following biosketch which is verbatim except the frequent abbreviations are spelled out. NEWHOUSE, WYNTER REED, journalist; born Lima, Ohio, June 6, 1915; son of Daniel Wynter and Susan (Hess) Newhouse; Bachelor of Arts, Cleveland College-Western Reserve University, 1939; Master of Arts, Western Reserve University, 1941; married Ruth Leta Strack, November 12, 1938; children-William, Geoffrey, Jacqueline, Anthony, Dean, Guy,. Reporter, Worcester (Massachusetts) Evening Gazette, 1941-43; editorial writer Philadelphia Inquirer, 1944-. Office: 400 North Broad Street Philadelphia PA 19101.
He retired from the Philadelphia Inquirer at age 55, in 1970.
Wynter had a great love for sports. He was an avid boxing fan, and he even boxed competitively in college. His family referred to him as the "original jogger". He ran long distance track through college, and continued jogging his entire life into his mid 70s. As late as 1983, he ran in 10K races with his sons, Dean and Tony.
In October 1981, Wynter did get the opportunity to meet with his father's daughter by another marriage, his half-sister Maxine Newhouse Jones. Maxine and her husband came up from Mission, Texas, and met Wynter and his wife Ruth at the home of Wynter's son Dean. To remain acquainted, Wynter and his sister Maxine had several subsequent visits during the next 12 years.
At his funeral service on March 2, 1993, his eldest son William prepared and read the following eulogy, which accurately portrays Wynter's character:
"To my mother, my father was called 'daddy,' or 'Wynt' for Wynter. To my brothers: Guy, Dean, Tony & Stevie, and to my sister Jackie, our father was simply called "Pop." What kind of person was "Pop?" This is how I saw him ... he was a man who led a simple, quiet life, with a very dry sense of humor. But he was also a man with strong convictions -- one of these was that he did not believe in excess or lavish displays of any kind; so in this sense, I'm sure that this simple ceremony of 'good-bye' is just what he would have wanted ... this is the way he lived his life.
"Our Pop, some people felt, was a difficult man to know; but I think it was not hard to understand what he stood for, by the philosophy he preached, and the example he set everyday, both during his professional career which was expressing written opinion on the editorial pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and as a father in his leadership role in the growth and development of our family.
"He could be a stern task master at times, but what it seemed to me that he wanted for each of us, was to achieve a fullness of the human spirit ... to become more complete human beings ... able to understand and relate not just to the little piece of the world that affects our daily lives, but to understand and relate to the greater world around us.
"He encouraged traits of self education ... to open our eyes to many things, to have a sense of curiosity about life and to always seek and strive to satisfy that curiosity ... to see, understand and appreciate the diversity of people in both our immediate neighborhood and the world as a community. He taught us to open our eyes and learn about the world around us from the tiniest insect, or smallest cog-wheel in a gear, up to and including international politics and even space travel.
"He taught us to understand and respect people who are different from ourselves, to try to relate to and learn from others, even if their viewpoints are different from ours. He wanted us to see that we are not islands, but part of a larger brotherhood of humanity that needs to understand each other and work together, if we are to survive and move forward as a people.
"Pop was a shy person in some ways, a reluctant person when it came to what he considered frivolous affairs, such as parties and social gatherings ... but he was an inspiring champion when it came to aspiring causes for the betterment of people's lives -- such as human rights and human development; in mind, spirit and body. It was these causes he campaigned for in both the editorials he wrote for the Inquirer and the education and challenges for his family. While Pop and I certainly had our points of friction, at times, I am proud of the example he set, and the guidance he gave me toward learning about the world around me and trying to become a better citizen of that world. And so 'Pop', on behalf of your family, and myself, I want to express a simple 'thank you' for the invaluable send-off you gave us to life in this world as we were growing up. I believe education was your most important legacy.
"In this regard, we couldn't have asked for more, and you could't have given more ...
-- Bill Newhouse