Douglas C. Newton

January 7, 1936 ~ December 28, 2021 (age 85)


The Reverend Dr. Douglas C. Newton, known affectionately as Dr. Doug, died peacefully at home on Tuesday after a long illness. Born January 7th, 1936, in Dothan, Alabama, Doug knew from a young age that the Lord had called him to preach and he began his ministry while still in high school. After graduation, he went to Asbury College, where he met and married the love of his life,  Gaynelle (Granberry) Newton. The two served their first church just over the Kentucky border in Sinking Springs, Ohio, while still in college.

After graduating from Candler School of Theology at Emory University with his Master's of Divinity, Doug returned to the Alabama West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church where he served faithfully for the next sixty-four years. He began as the associate pastor at Gadsden Street UMC in Pensacola and was a founding pastor at Trinity UMC in Fort Walton Beach, Florida  as well as serving Destin UMC. From there Doug served the First UMC in Evergreen, AL, and the First UMC in Enterprise, AL, before returning to Florida as the Senior Pastor of First UMC in Niceville, FL. Following his appointment in Niceville, Doug returned to Gadsden Street UMC as Senior Pastor before serving as the District Superintendent for the former Selma District. Doug then became the Senior Pastor at the First UMC in Panama City, FL and later at First UMC in Atmore, AL.

When he "retired," Doug and Gaynelle moved to Choctaw Beach, Florida, to be near friends and family and together they served the Choctaw Beach UMC together for 13 years. After Gaynelle's passing, Doug "retired" again and moved to Wesley Gardens in Montgomery, AL. He had a special place in his heart for the United Methodist Homes for the Aging, after having served on the board and as the chairman of the Foundation of Love for many years.  Of course, even then, Doug didn't really retire, but served for a time as pastor of Snowdoun UMC.

Whether it was weeks spent preaching revivals at Camp Glory, Blue Lake, or one of dozens of mission trips to Jamaica or inviting anyone in need to sit down at a restaurant with him and Gaynelle for a meal, Doug had a way with people. He never worried much about the most important things on his daily agenda. If you were the lucky one in conversation with him, you were the most important item on his list that day.

He was proud of his children, Allen Newton (Stephanie) and Michelle Murray (Mark) but his favorite role was being Pappaw to his grandchildren: Christopher Murray (Bridget) and Riley Newton (Mary Katherine), Sarah Kate and David Newton, and his great-grandchildren Emerson and Harper. He is survived by his Brother in law Seth W. Granberry Jr. (Sally) and many nieces and nephews.

Doug found joy in people, in their stories, in living life alongside them. He was passionate about the church, going to movies with Gaynelle, playing dominoes, Nick's Seafood, and most of all Jesus. If you knew Doug, you knew he'd never miss an opportunity to talk about how the Lord was working in his life and the lives of everyone around him. He never lost sight of the joy of witnessing God's hand at work in those he loved.

The family will be holding a private graveside ceremony but invites you to leave your memories and stories of Dr. Doug below. If you'd like to honor Doug's memory with a monetary gift, donations may be sent to: Choctaw Beach United Methodist Church, 479 Live Oak Street, Freeport, FL, 32439, or Asbury Seminary Foundation Att: Jo Ann Roberts 3027 Fellowship Lane Pace, FL 32571.

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