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Updated: 02/23/2014 08:00:01AM

Joseph L. Newton II

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Joseph L. “Joe” Newton II, 71, a lifelong resident of Arcadia, Fla., passed away Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

Joe was born June 12, 1942, and attended school in DeSoto County, Fla.

Upon graduation from DeSoto County High School in 1961, he left for Alabama to attend Troy State, where he “Lettered.” In 1962, Joe enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. His tour of duty included Okinawa, Japan, and Morocco. Joe drove the M50 Ontos tank destroyers. Once discharged, Joe went back to Troy State, and was in his last semester when his father persuaded him to come home to Arcadia to run the family business. What originally began as Peace River Land Clearing became Newton’s Machine Shop in 1972.

Joe was a very smart, hardworking man and stern father. He was as honest as the day is long, and never said a bad word about anyone. Joe lived for the moment and loved adventure. Outside of work, Joe was a very active member of Arcadia Elks Lodge 1524. He was Past Exalted Ruler five times, and held different offices over the years.

Being the taskmaster that he was, Joe was a big driving force in fundraising for the lodge. He was one person capable of raising thousands of dollars through the $100 club. Joe was also the Florida State Chairman of the Elks Hoop Shoot Association in 1995; a member of the Moose Lodge, the Eagles, the American Legion and the VFW; and a big contributor to the Harry-Anna Crippled Children’s Fund. Joe was probably DeSoto County’s most devoted Florida Gators fan. Not only did he hold season tickets for the past 40 years, but you also could see him zipping around town in his Porsche, painted royal blue and orange.

Joe is survived by his sons, Joseph S. Newton and Eric (Destiny) Newton of Arcadia; stepbrother, David (Barbara) Bishop of Wauchula, Fla.; and grandchildren, Jordan, Logan, Luke, Stevanie, Laura and Dayton. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence Newton Sr. and Edith Newton; and his brother, Don Newton.

Visitation hours will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, at Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home in Arcadia. The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Arcadia. Burial will follow (at approximately 11 a.m.) at Oak Ridge Cemetery with full military honors, as well as an honored tribute by Arcadia Elks Lodge 1524.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Joe’s name to the DeSoto Youth Foundation, 1028 W. Oak St., Arcadia, FL 34266. Online condolences can be made at

Arrangements are by Ponger-Kays-Grady Funeral Home, Arcadia.

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