Newton McQuay, of Durham, died April 27, 2017. The 86-year-old husband and father of three was surrounded by his family.
Newton was a gentle, loving, and quiet man. He was quick to smile and slow to talk. He cared about serving God and others in the world through nature, especially through plants, and through scientific and creative endeavors. Newton valued his family above all else, and he lived his life expressing that love.
A native of Charlotte, N.C., Newton was born on January 23, 1931. Growing up on a farm that is now downtown Charlotte, Newton milked cows and slopped hogs before and after school, and was known by his brothers and sisters as a mischievous clown. Newton was proud to have served in the U.S. Air Force for four years. On the GI bill, he graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. degree in horticulture. He went on to work at Duke University’s Botany Department and helped lead the development of the Phytotron, a plant research laboratory. Newton moved with his family to Durham in June of 1968. He was employed as a botanist and supervisor with Duke University until his retirement in 1994.
Newton was an active member of Triangle Presbyterian Church and served in many different positions over his 30-year membership. His service included serving as deacon, elder, and worship leader. He enjoyed creating and maintaining a tranquility garden in the church and in adding to the landscaping design and upkeep of the church grounds. Newton led a group called “The Master’s Gardeners” for church members who wanted to learn about plants and landscaping design.
After his retirement, a special pleasure was working with the Master Gardeners of Durham County. He loved being outdoors, especially at Duke Gardens. Newton was an avid Duke Basketball fan and held season tickets for more than 50 years. He and his wife attended Duke games until they were in their early 80s. Both followed the Blue Devils as Iron Dukes with great enthusiasm.
His parents, Eugene and Maude McQuay, predeceased Mr. McQuay, as did his brother, Edgar McQuay; sister, Juanita Threatt; and niece, Jenny Threatt.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Patricia Foster McQuay; daughters, Vickie Reddick and her husband, Stephen of Oak Ridge, TN, and Martha Walsh and her husband, John of Bahama, N.C..; son, David Newton McQuay of Durham; and sister, Martha McQuay of Durham. His five grandchildren, Kathryn Walsh, Ryan Reddick, Matthew Walsh, Anna Reddick, and Jack Walsh, were a special joy to him. He also leaves behind several beloved nieces and nephews, Robert McQuay of Conover, Lisa McQuay of Chapel Hill, and Joey Threatt of Charlotte.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 29, at Triangle Presbyterian Church of Durham. The family will receive friends beginning at 10 a.m. with the service to follow at 11:00 a.m. The family requests that memorials be made to Triangle Presbyterian Church of Durham.