ELIZABETHTOWN — A family owned business is seeing a passing of the baton to the next generation as F.W. Newton Sr. turns over the operations of F.W. Newton and Sons Mortuary in Elizabethtown to his son, F.W. Newton Jr.
The business was started sometime around 1968 and has gone through numerous changes to the funeral home industry.
Newton Jr. is now serving as president of the funeral home and will be responsible for the day-to-day operations.
“People will be dealing with me regarding the funeral preparations … I will be dealing with the churches,” said Newton Jr.
He grew up in Elizabethtown and graduated from East Bladen High School in 1983. He also graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
Newton Jr. said that as he thought about what he wanted to do for a career, he thought a lot about the funeral business.
“My father had his funeral home. I thought about the fact that I knew the funeral business,” said Newton Jr.
He said that the funeral business is much more than just a job.
“It is sort of a ministry,” said Newton Jr. “You have a responsibility to bury that dead. I grew up in it and I understood it.”
Newton Jr. has been in the funeral business for about 25 years. He started his career in 1988. He worked not only for his father, but he also worked with Elouise Jackson. Jackson owned funeral homes in Laurinburg and Maxton.
“I know the community pretty well,” said Newton Jr. of Bladen County.
He added that his father imparted some valuable lessons regarding the funeral business. One of those lessons was how to break the ice with family when they come to the funeral home.
“He comes in with a lot of things to say to the family. He always found a way to put people at ease,” said Newton Jr.
He added that planning a funeral service is a difficult time for the family as there are many issues a family may be facing with the death of their loved one.
He added his mother, Mildred Tinnon Newton, was a teacher in the Bladen County School System for 37 years and knew many people in the community. She passed away in 2006.
“She taught me how to deal with public,” said Newton Jr. “She said don’t worry about anything, just pass out love.”
“Fig” Newton said that he will still be around and when needed will be glad to lend a helping hand to his son.
“When he is in charge of everything, it relieves me,” said F. W. Newton Sr.
Newton Sr. that he won’t stray too far from the community he has served for about 45 years.
“I’m not saying that I’m not going to be of some help around here,” said Newton Sr.