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King of Swing Charities, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was formed in Austin and Houston, Texas in 2001 in memory and spirit of Christopher James Newton. It's purpose is to promote and support children with life-threatening illnesses with the goal of enriching the human experiences of the children.
Mom's Final Instructions - Joan Newton
 

My Dearest Christopher,

If I have the strength and the courage to read this letter, it will only serve as one small way for me to tell you again how strong my love is for you. I loved you the moment you were born on that beautiful New Jersey sunrise in 1970, and I will love you until I draw my last breath. I don't know yet how a parent survives the death of a child. God knows I have witnessed it often enough over the years with the job that I did, and every time, I came away from those grieving families with such overwhelming respect for their courage and their strength...but this time its MY child, my Christopher, and I don't know if I can bear it.

Chris, you have always been a radiant light in our life; even as a tiny child you staked your claim in this family and you never let go. Your smile and your charm, there at birth, became legendary. I remember so many wonderful memories and today is the time for remembering and for celebrating the special human being you were to us all.

We used to say that you were our ecumenical child: born to protestant parents, in a Catholic hospital and delivered by a Jewish doctor. It's no wonder you were such a well-balanced person and so "right" to be raised in a Unitarian based philosophy. I am sure it wasn't easy at times being the youngest child...especially when you brother was only eleven months older. You guys shared so much and even though your differences were many, the love and respect you sometimes doubted was ALWAYS, always the cement that kept our family so strong. Pat was such a huge part of your Austin soul.

Through all your years of school, you never caused trouble to anyone, you just did things your way...and that's not an easy task in Klein where conformity is often a priority. You gave band a "go" early on but decided blowing a trumpet just couldn't compete with throwing a baseball or tossing around a football. You didn't like it when Dad and I wouldn't let you play Pony League Football, but you kept on, going on with baseball, basketball and soccer...and then you finally discovered golf...and you know what? There was never a single moment that we weren't proud to call you our son. You lettered in baseball at Klein as a sophomore and when Chris Newton was catching behind that Bearkat plate, and brother Pat was patrolling third base, your Dad and I would smile at each other with a great deal of pride and joy. There you were with Scott, Jack, Ronnie,

Aaron, Hank, Robert, and sometimes Steve, helping coach and the friendships you built with these fine young men became much more than mere friendship, but more like a brotherhood. I ran out of good adjectives when I remember your friendship with Warren. Early on he became like a soul mate through the good times and the bad and your best friend. Jack and Scott are still asking why he has so many pictures on our wall in the kitchen. You had that ability Chris, to gather people together and to make them feel special. I NEVER knew you to consciously disrespect or hurt another human being not even when you liked to engage Jen in some real battles of wit, but that was part of being the little brother. Your bond was strong...you continued to love her even after she branded your stomach with a light bulb one day and when she married Chris, you were right there to tell her how beautiful she was and what a great guy she was bringing into the family.

All those water skiing parties at the lake house, winning the Texas State championship in Little League, Boston and the Ryder Cup this past year, and just last month prowling the streets of New York...no regrets but only thanks for the many good memories we'll continue to cherish.

Chris, you and I shared some uniquely special things, too. Just last month sitting on the airplane on our way to New York, while discussing some troubling issues, you looked over at me and said. "Mom, nobody in this world knows me better than you do!" We always were able to talk...about anything and everything. I remember a particular night at Denny's Diner. You drove in from Austin just to talk, I think, and we sat there for three hours and many, many cups of strong coffee. Your love of writing was always there but just beginning to find focus...1 wonder if you ever knew I sent a copy of your "Who Will Remember?" poem to the Challenger foundation for their archives...and your college "philosophy of life essay", where the professor said to you in front of the entire class, "Chris you should go out to the nearest Xerox machine, copy that paper and stick one under every windshield wiper in the UT parking lot." Now, Chris, that was excellent feedback (something you and Jen and I always wanted when we wrote something)!

I think about Brewski and Max and Sparky and remember one infamous Christmas eve in the ER where you received about 28 stitches in your mouth after getting too close to a then-ailing Sparky. Christmas dinner through a straw...not a good idea.

We always laughed a lot in our family. We kidded about journey people and destination people. One of the things you will always be best known for was your ability to wake up every single day and to take those hours and squeeze all the joy and living out of them that you could definitely a journey person! While many around you chose the fast track through college, your journey took a multitude of interesting turns and detours never the "expected" route but always the end goal in sight. You had a gift of being so at "home in your own skin", of knowing who you were and although you were tested many times over the years, in the final analysis, you always came away stronger.

Chris, I think I am able to get these thoughts on paper only because at this moment, flying 30 thousand feet above the earth on my way home to Houston, I fully expect you to walk through the door and say, "Hey, it was all a big mistake". Intellectually, I know that's not going to happen and I don't know what I'll do when reality finally sets in. I'm trying so hard not to let the anger of the "could-of, would-of, should-of's" overtake my body and soul. To honor your memory, I want to celebrate your life! I want to celebrate what a gift and a blessing it was for your father, for Jen, for Patric and for me to be a part of it. I want to thank you for letting me be your mother and I want to celebrate how important and loved you were to your friends and your relatives. As you continue your journey (and I believe there is one,) the light that surrounded you can never be extinguished, just changed. I want you to be at peace...and I want you to go surrounded in love.

Mom