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Newton's first county manager passes away

Newton County's former county manager John Middleton passed away around 7:30 a.m. Monday morning while at Wake Forest hospital.

Middleton was first hired as finance director by Chairman Davis Morgan in 2000 and promoted to administrative officer in 2001 under Chairman Aaron Varner. Then in 2012 he was appointed county manager by the Board of Commissioners. He worked for 16 different commissioners and 16 different commission chairmen.

“He was instrumental in leading Newton County in decision-making,” Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis said. “By the time he retired, he had a wealth of knowledge regarding every area of the county. John will certainly be missed by all of us.

Middleton first started working for Newton County around the time Commissioner J.C. Henderson was first elected, and the two bonded over time.

“John was a good man, and a very smart man, who helped lead the county for several years,” Henderson said. “John wouldn’t just tell me what I wanted to hear, but he would always tell me what I needed to know.’

Henderson remembers himself and his wife attending conferences with Middleton and his wife, Carol, and the foursome would always enjoy dinners and conversations together.

“He’s going to be missed,” Henderson said. “First by his wife, and by me too.”

Newton County’s flags will be flown at half-staff Monday and Tuesday in his honor and wreaths have been provided for the Historic Courthouse and the Administrative Building by Sherwood’s Florist. The county will host a memorial service at a time and date to be determined, Newton County Clerk Jackie Smith said.

“During my two years of working with John I witnessed his value to Newton County,” Ellis said. “Mine and my family’s prayers are with his wife, Miss Carol. It is a sad day for Newton County.”

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