Fri Dec 22nd, 2017
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
Growing tall and straight in the late afternoon sun, a young tree graces the grassy courtyard to the west of The Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy; branches bare, having shed each leaf in preparation for the coming of winter. Green buds set to return in the spring, harmony with the seasons, that is the circle of life.
A small bronze plaque now stands to the east of the sapling, inscribed: In Memory of Chairman Jimmy Newton Jr.
On Tuesday, Dec. 19, Jimmy and Elaine Newton, parents of the late Chairman, along with his daughter, Maylon Newton paid a visit to the young tree, as part of a small, intimate dedication ceremony. The ceremony was also attended by members of Southern Ute Council Affairs who gave a bit of background to the memorial and its location near the school.
The tree was generously donated by Native Roots Garden Center in recognition of the late Chairman Newton, whose passing affected so many. Amy Barry, a longtime friend and colleague of Newton suggested that it be placed near the school, because it was the youth that Jimmy cherished most. The tree was set in the ground that spring.
“I thought it was a good idea to plant the tree near the academy. He cared a lot about the kids…no matter the age,” Maylon Newton said
She mused over the passing of her father for a moment, then remarked that she looks forward to visiting the tree in the spring, full of life and teeming with new leaves — I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of tree it is.
“It has been almost four years now. You get that little reminder that he’s still here,” Newton said. “It’s a good feeling.”