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Obituary: Rita Elaine Newton

Photo Credit: Newton Family

NEWTON – Rita Elaine Newton, passed on January 14, 2020. Elaine was a wife, mother, daughter, sister and grandmother, she was 62 years old.

Elaine was born on January 21, 1957 in Las Vegas, NV to Josephine and Jose R. Olguin.

Elaine is survived by her husband of 43 years, Jim R. Newton, Sr., granddaughter Maylon Newton, brothers James M. Olguin (Dee), Myron Olguin (Diane), and Roberta Lohrey all of Ignacio, CO.

Elaine is preceded in death by her father, Jose R. Olguin, and son, Chairman Jim R. Newton, Jr.

Elaine was a person with a huge heart filled with servitude, compassion, and encouragement to her family, friends, tribal membership and the greater community. She was loved by everyone and her impacts will be forever lasting on both a personal and professional level. On January 26, 1976 she married the love of her life, Jimmy R. Newton and together they welcomed their only child, Jim R. Newton, Jr. Elaine loved being a wife and a mother. The love and passion to serve her people helped shaped the same passions into her son who was elected to Tribal Council and Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. She loved to travel with her husband and other family members. When her son, Jim, was on the powwow circuit, Elaine was known to travel right beside him.

During her years as Judge, her contributions were significant and many of the policies and programs that she created are still intact today. Judge Newton was passionate for traditional forms of justice which aimed to rehabilitate the individuals who came before her. Her sentences were non-traditional in the eyes of many courts, but she understood the unique backgrounds and needs to rehabilitate the entire community that she loved. Elaine spent 34 years in law enforcement and judicial services of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. In 1988, Elaine began her career with tribal court as a paralegal, she was then promoted to Associate Judge for four years and finally Chief Judge for 17 years. She also dedicated her time in Tribal Planning working on Economic Development, Tribal Services, and the Department of Natural Resources.

She enjoyed doing crafts, another passion she passed to her son. In the Spring and Summer months, her family and friends could often find her in her garden. She loved to grow flowers and grew traditional plants, such as tobacco.

Elaine will be deeply missed by her family, friends, colleagues, and the surrounding communities.

A rosary will be recited on Friday, January 17, 2020 at 6 p.m. at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church. On Saturday, January 18, 2020 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the St Ignatius Catholic Church, a eulogy will be read, church services will begin at 10:00 a.m., with burial to follow at Ouray Cemetery.

A luncheon will begin at 12 p.m. at the Sky Ute Casino Resort, Event Center. The family welcomes everyone to attend.

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