Remembering Newt

blank
Newt Wallace began most every day in the Express office, sitting at his Underwood typewriter and reading his newspapers, as he did here in March 2013. Photo by Debra DeAngelo

Support Local Journalism

LOGIN
REGISTER

Newt Wallace took the train from Long Beach to Davis in 1946. He missed the bus to Winters, so he walked the ten miles to meet with Fred Smith, the owner and publisher of the Winters Express. He had heard that the Express was for sale and had come to make Mr. Smith an offer. The rest, as they say, is history. Mr. Smith drove him back to Davis to catch the train back to Long Beach so he could tell his wife that they had just bought a newspaper.

Newt took over the Express on Jan. 1, 1947 and continued to come to work every day for more than 70 years. During those years, he was active in the business community, his church and service clubs, serving as Chamber of Commerce president, Lions Club president and as an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He was honored as the Winters Citizen of the Year in 1972.

He was born in Iowa, raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and graduated from Iowa State University, Ames. He met his wife, Ida, while he earned a degree in history, and a minor in journalism at Iowa State, and she was majoring in home economics. They were married in 1943 and were living in Long Beach when they heard about the Express being for sale.

They moved to Winters with their son, Wilson Polk Wallace, and settled in for life. Newt liked to say that Winters reminded him of a small Iowa farm town. There would be three more sons, John, James and Charles, and a daughter, Lois, who were all raised in Winters and went through the Winters school system.

Newt was active in politics and met seven presidents over his lifetime. One of his highlights was being invited to have lunch with President John F. Kennedy at the White House in 1962. A large picture of the luncheon hangs in the Winters Express office.

He was also active in newspaper associations, serving as chairman of the Graphic Arts Trade Advisory Committee at San Quentin Prison. He was past president, 1964, of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and director of the California Press Club.

In 1968, the United States Information Agency was looking to make a documentary on small newspapers in the United States and made a movie entitled “Winters Express,” which was translated into 18 languages and was shown in more than 100 countries.

Newt was the local weatherman for almost 60 years, recording the high, low and rainfall each day at 9 a.m. He received the Thomas Jefferson award from the National Weather Service for his outstanding reporting and years of services.

When his children were small, he and Ida ran the Winters Express as a husband and wife team. When Ida received a teaching degree and took a job with the local school district, he started hiring extra help. His son, Charley, came back to help run the paper in 1977 and retired at the end of 2017, ending 70 years of the Wallace family running and owning the Winters Express.

The Express merged with McNaughton Publications in 1994 with Charley remaining as publisher while Newt continued to write his column, “Here, There and Everywhere,” and to put together Page 2 with his Years Ago columns and an old Yesteryear picture.

Newt liked to throw a party each Friday the 13th. When asked why he celebrated Friday the 13th, Newt would say that he took out his marriage license on a Friday the 13th with a $2 bill and it gives him a reason to clean up the office. In the early days celebrating Friday the 13ths, he would show advertisers how their ads were put together and take them to the Buckhorn for dinner. As the crowds grew larger, he started feeding them at home, or the home of other employees. At some point, everyone just made it a potluck and the parties continued.

When he turned 90, the city named an alley after him, Newt’s Expressway, which was next to the old Express offices on Railroad Avenue, before they were torn down to make way for the new downtown hotel. Around this time he started calling himself the “Oldest Paperboy in the Country.”

After some research, it was decided that he might be the Oldest Paperboy in the World. The New York Times did a feature story on him when he was 93 and agreed that he was the Oldest Paperboy in the World. The people at Guinness never would acknowledge his longevity, even after reams of material were mailed to them. Ripley’s Believe it or Not considered him the Oldest Paperboy in the World when he was 95. He stopped delivering papers in November 2016.

James Newton Wallace passed away at home on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 at his home in Winters with family members at his side. Funeral services will be announced at a later date.

Newt Wallace celebrated his 65th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the Winters Express in June 1984. From left are Newt’s wife, Ida, and son, Charles, who became the Express publisher in 1983.
Photo by Linda Cruikshank

 

 

 

 

Total
1
Shares
4 comments
  1. To Charlie and family,
    Someone as special as your father can never be forgotten. May your memories give you peace and comfort.
    Sincerely,
    Candy Trafican Young

  2. To Charlie and family,
    Someone as special as your father can never be forgotten. May your memories give you peace and comfort.
    Sincerely,
    Candy Trafican Young

  3. An extraordinary man, an inspiring life, and a beautiful movie. Thank you for this tribute, Charlie. I am proud and grateful to have known your father and to be part of your extended family.

  4. An extraordinary man, an inspiring life, and a beautiful movie. Thank you for this tribute, Charlie. I am proud and grateful to have known your father and to be part of your extended family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Article
blank

Local group is making Winters history

Next Article

We’ve all had a pretty good run at the Express

Related Posts