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Dawn J. Newton – Obituary

Name: Dawn J. Newton

Age: 79

Born: 09-03-1942

Died: 12-18-2021

Christ Church Newman Center

Christ Church Newman Center, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Dawn Newton, 79 of St. Cloud, MN (formerly of Crookston, MN) passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at Quiet Oaks Hospice House, St. Augusta, MN. She was a kind and loving soul, a friend to many--especially those less fortunate or marginalized--a proud mother to two daughters, grand-mother to a few beloved grandchildren, an aunt, cousin, neighbor, mentor and revered teacher to a host of others who loved and appreciated her kind, compassionate and generous heart and quiet, gentle spirit.  


Dawn Jeneen Newton was born on September 3,1942 to parents, Frank Hargrave and Hazel Clarice (Nelson) Hargrave in Moorhead, MN. She was a beautiful baby, loved and cherished by her parents and grand-parents, and was crowned "Little Miss Moorhead" in the annual city-wide pageant at the tender age of two. She attended Catholic elementary and middle school at St. Joseph Academy in Crookston, MN, where she developed a strong faith and special appreciation for the Sisters of St. Benedict who guided and cared for her. Following the sudden and tragic death of her father in a motor vehicle accident, Dawn returned to Moorhead in her early teens, attending and graduating from Moorhead High School in 1960. Thereafter, she attended Concordia College in Moorhead and married her high school sweetheart, Wayne Leonard Newton, in Moorhead in1962. Together they welcomed their first child, Rochelle Terese in May of 1963. The couple made their home in Moorhead, where Dawn completed college and was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Concordia University. The family relocated to Crookston, MN in 1967 where both Dawn and Wayne began their careers. Dawn initially worked for a special education co-op serving Crookston and the surrounding rural area. Discovering a deep passion for education, especially teaching, in this role, Dawn later pursued graduate coursework, earning a Master's Degree in Special Education from Moorhead State University. She thereafter began teaching elementary school students on a 1:1 basis with Crookston Public Schools, developing strong bonds with many of her students and their families. In 1972, Wayne and Dawn welcomed their second daughter, Sarah Kristin, to the family.  After several years of working for Crookston Public Schools, Dawn's social work background began to lure her in a slightly different direction. She then accepted a position as Education Coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, where she was in charge of all inmate education activities at the minimum security correctional facility in Crookston. It was in this role that Dawn discovered both her greatest talent and her deepest passion--inspiring love of learning, motivation, confidence and educational accomplishment among those often least aware of their innate potential or otherwise cast aside by the traditional education system. Dawn served in this role for many years--a great majority of her working career--making the lion's share of her closest, like-minded and lifelong friends, as well as inspiring truly countless numbers of adult students to obtain milestone educational credentials--GEDs, trade certificates, high school diplomas and even college degrees--leading to stable employment, heightened self-esteem, earnings potential, lifestyle options and choices. Dawn left the Crookston Corrections Center near the end of her career to establish an Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in joint collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and Crookston Public Schools, designed specifically to serve students struggling to succeed within traditional school settings and or non-traditional students seeking GED credentials. She served as Administrator of the ALC from inception through the first several years, though her love for teaching and guiding students ultimately drew her away from administrative work to once again inspiring a love of learning and motivating individual students to achieve (and often exceed) academic milestones.  


Dawn retired from teaching in 2008. She and Wayne relocated to St. Cloud shortly after her retirement to be near to both of their daughters and grandchildren. Dawn has been very active in local Alcoholics Anonymous groups and activities since moving to the St. Cloud area. She actively sponsored and mentored numerous newly joined members and was always there to support her fellow members, regardless of the time of day, surrounding circumstances, nature or severity of the issue at hand or personal inconvenience. She made many close and trusted friends through her many AA connections, took her service to others very seriously and was very proud of her long-lived sobriety (30 years), her many contributions of time and talent and her unyielding service to new and struggling fellow members. She was dear to many and will be dearly missed by those she aided along her journey.


Dawn is survived by her two daughters, Rochelle (Bill) Schmit, Sauk Rapids, Sarah (Jeremy) Jensen, Sauk Rapids, beloved grandchildren, Jacob and Gabrielle Schmit, Griffin, Meric, Sophie and Sasha Jensen, sister-in-law, Linda (David) Parsons, best, lifelong friend and honorary sister, Wendy Simonson, aunt Lois (Chuck) Thompson, many nieces and nephews, cousins and very close friends.  


She was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne Newton, father, Frank Hargrave, mother, Hazel Bothne, step-father, Lloyd Bothne, grandparents Helma and Clarence Nelson, grandparents "Grandma and Grandpa Hargrave," several aunts, uncles and cousins. She will be dearly missed, forever loved and remembered by the many members of her family, friends, former students and colleagues that she leaves behind. God rest her precious soul.   


A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2022 at Christ Newman Center in St. Cloud.  Guests will be greeted beginning at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the Newman Center and a light luncheon will follow services.

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