Barbara W. Newell

Barbara W. Newell

Barbara W. Newell

Barbara W. Newell lost her ten-and-a-half-year battle with stage — ovarian cancer Tuesday, July 6, 2010. She died in the early morning hours at her home in Medford with John, her husband of 46 years, at her side.

Barbara was born in Kansas City, Mo., on April 28, 1942, to Wayne and Ada Wehrle; both were career educators. In 1962, Barbara was an education major attending the University of Missouri. It was there she met John H. Newell, her husband to be. They married in December, 1963.

Barbara put her education on hold to accompany John to Germany for his three year tour of active duty as an artillery officer. He was assigned to a short range nuclear missile battalion on the East/West German border from 1964 through 1966. Their first daughter, Jennifer, was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1964. Upon returning to the states John went to work for the Industrial Division of John Deere. They lived briefly in Salina, Kansas, moved to Denver and then to Seattle. In the spring of 1969, the family, which had grown to five, moved from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska.

Barbara completed her education in Anchorage with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alaska and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Alaska Pacific University. She was a K-12 substitute in Anchorage, and taught fitness classes at the community college. From 1984 to 1992 she was a Physical Education/Lifetime Fitness Instructor at Alaska Pacific University. Her students fondly referred to her Fitness for Life class as Guilt for Life.

During her 23 years in Anchorage she was an advocate for Anchorage schools, actively supported the establishment of the Anchorage green belt and trails system and was actively involved in planning, development and political issues. She loved the outdoors, trips into remote locations, wilderness runs with friends and competitive 10k and marathon races. Barbara and John semi-retired in July, 1992, and moved to the Rogue Valley. They both worked as educational assistants for the Medford School District.

Barbara is survived by her husband, John, of Medford, Ore.; daughter, Jennifer Newell, of North Hollywood, Calif.; son, John S. Newell, of Juneau, Alaska; daughter, Deborah Sholtis, of El Dorado Hills, Calif.; brother, Tom Wehrle, of Prairie Village, Kans.; sister, Deborah Willis, of St. Louis, Mo.; a daughter-in-law; a son-in-law; two granddaughters; and a grandson. She was preceded in death by her son, David, at age 18, in January, 1987, during his senior year in high school.

Barbara's ashes will be scattered at her favorite spots around the valley, on the coast, in the redwoods and in the waters of the Hawaiian islands.

Please consider a donation to the John Wayne Cancer Institute in remembrance of Barbara. They accepted Barbara twice for extensive surgery at their excellent research and educational facility; she was a star patient. Check them out online at

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