Bill Newitt

W. William (Bill) Newitt left us peacefully at his home on Riverside Drive, Melbourne in the afternoon of Friday, October 16, 2020.  He was 68 years old.  Bill loved his family deeply: his wife Janneke (DePutter) of 42 years and his children Holly and Liam.  His passing will leave a deep hole in their lives and in the lives of his extended family and community. In his early years, Bill enjoyed riding his motorcycle, flying light aircraft and playing semi-professional football.  He was a skilled downhill skier and worked as a Junior Ranger in northern Ontario.  He sat on the student council at Laurentian University in Sudbury, played the piano and was a self-taught guitar player.  In later life, people will remember his stoicism in dealing with his ever-increasing physical challenges.  Bill became very involved in his adopted Appin area community after his marriage. He coached T-ball and was a founding member of the Ekfrid Garden Group.  He was an avid scuba diver and loved to travel.  After the children arrived, he became a driving force in the Glencoe and Strathroy Scouting organizations.  He thoroughly enjoyed singing in the Appin United Church choir, was the current church Clerk of Session and unofficial “Chef du Maison” for church social functions in the past few years.  Bill was passionate about the Freemasonry fraternity.  He was initiated into Dufferin Masonic Lodge #364 in Melbourne in 1981, serving as Master of that Lodge from 1988 to 1992 and then as Secretary from 1994 to 2004.  He was honoured to be District Secretary in the 2000 Masonic year.  When that duty was completed he became a Grand Steward, receiving the title of Very Worshipful Brother.  He became a member of Mocha Shrine in 1984 and acted as secretary for Strathoca Shrine Club in Strathroy from 2005 to 2014.  He recently joined the Hi Ro Shrine Club in St. Thomas.  In everything he took on Bill challenged others to move outside their comfort zone and to think outside the box.  He was not a scholarly man but spoke knowledgably on a great variety of subjects.  Every day could be made better with gourmet food (that he prepared himself), good music, fine wine and single malt scotch – especially when shared with family and friends. Bill was larger than life (figuratively and literally!), commanding a presence in any gathering.  He was gregarious, generous to a fault and his quick and irreverent sense of humour will never be forgotten by everyone he met.  Life was an adventure to be lived to the fullest, and with as many others as he could bring along with him.  He was still hoping to organize another Lake Erie fishing trip for family members and friends when he passed!  In place of a funeral and visitation, there will be a celebration of Bill’s life at a later date. Donations in Bill’s memory can be made to the Shriner’s Sick Children’s Hospital in Montreal.  Condolences and donations through Van Heck Funeral Home, Glencoe.

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