Robert Ryan Newton, 86, of Newport, RI passed away surrounded by his loving family on March 19, 2022. Born on September 8, 1935, in Scranton, PA, he was a son of the late Charles Noble Newton and Mary Agnes (Ryan) Newton. After graduating from the University of Scranton, he earned his master’s degree from Yale University and a doctorate in Education from Harvard University. He became a dedicated educator, first serving as Headmaster of Regis High School in New York City, and later teaching at the University of San Francisco. Then working for 40 years at Boston College – initially in the role of Associate Academic Vice President and then Special Assistant and Senior Adviser to the President – Bob was instrumental in many key university initiatives, including revision of the Boston College Core Curriculum, development of the University’s comprehensive assessment plan, the establishment of the School of Theology and Ministry, and creation of the Church in the 21st Century Center.
A devoted husband, father, and friend, Bob was admired for his endless energy, determination, hospitality, and dry sense of humor. He was a gifted writer, known for composing poetry for family and friends to commemorate their accomplishments and special occasions. He loved cooking and gardening and was always fixing something around the house; these skills were put to good use on the many properties he and his wife owned throughout the years. He was also well known for his devotion to his dogs who even joined him at his office each day. He leaves behind his wife of 39 years, Karen von Kunes Newton; his son Ryan von Kunes Newton of New York; his daughter Alexis von Kunes Newton and her husband James Piereson (Will) of Boston; his siblings Charles Newton, Marianne Scanlan, and Noel Kuschke; as well as many nieces and nephews and their children.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church, 28 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA on Friday, March 25 at 11:30 AM. In the absence of a wake, all are welcome to join Karen, Ryan, Alexis, and Will for a reception immediately prior to the Mass at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton, MA between 9:30 and 11:00 AM. Burial at the Island Cemetery in Newport, RI will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Robert Newton’s memory may be made to the Boston College Fund or the Belmont Chapel Foundation (address a check to Belmont Chapel Foundation, 30 Warner Street, Newport RI, 02840).