Mary Sue “Big Red” Newton

Published 7:08 pm Monday, January 10, 2022

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Mary Sue “Big Red” Newton, 66, of Opelika died Jan. 6, 2022, at Oak Park Nursing Home.

She was born on Sept. 18, 1955, in Valley. She was the daughter of the late Joseph Robert Waller and Bonnie Sue (Johnson) Waller.

She was a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl. She helped her father tend to their family farm. She had a cow named Betsy that she loved dearly that would wrap her head around to hug her. She had so many friends and cousins that she loved dearly. When she would have sleepovers with her cousins on the Waller side of the family, all the cousins would form a sea of red hair wherever they laid their heads to rest. In her teen years, she loved to go to the drive-in movies and the local bowling alley. She had very fond memories of all the reunions with the Waller and Johnson families. The Johnson family were known to put on very funny skits and plays at their reunion. For many years the family would go to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to spend a lovely time with the Waller family. We would explore the parks and attractions together as a family.

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She graduated from Valley High School in 1973, Opelika Trade School in 1975 and Southern Union in 1977. She graduated from Auburn University with her bachelor’s degree in 1980. She was a huge Auburn football fan. She loved to watch football in general. Her favorite game to watch was when Auburn played Alabama!  While attending school, she worked at Valley Haven, The Chambers County Health Department and the Valley Humane Society.  She served as a social worker until her retirement at the Department of Human Resources in LaFayette. She retired after 20 years in 2019. She was very fond of her director and coworkers. They were not just friends; they were family. During her time as a social worker, she cared deeply for the welfare of her clients and worked very hard to make sure all their needs were met to the best of her ability.

She was a long time member of Fairfax First Baptist and Happy Valley Baptist Church in Valley and Lanett. Upon moving to Opelika, she attended Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn. Her faith and dedication to the Lord never wavered.

She loved to surround herself with family and friends. She loved to make others laugh. She enjoyed family vacations and felt at home at the beach. She liked to visit historic sites. She loved to help with friends showers and weddings.  She was Valley, Alabama’s Woman of the Year in 1980. She was a member of the Valley Jaycees. She was the Secretary and Treasure for the Post 67, Unit Auxiliary. She served her community well and would do anything she could to help others. She was a dedicated supporter of Valley Haven. She spent many years attending and working at Hike, Bike, Run, to raise proceeds to provide funding for Valley Haven.

She loved her grandchildren very much. She enjoyed playing in the ocean with them and chasing down their floats when the tide would take them away. There are so many stories of going to the beach with the Newton family. Let’s just say the children behaved better than the parents. We would have to tell the parents to behave because they were pulling chairs out from under each other and putting pots and pans in each other’s beds. These are just a few of their silly antics they would do to each other and the kids.

She adored her dog, Aubie, and cat, Cleo. They were her babies.

She is survived by: her children, Amanda Foster (Fred) Valley and Kim Osburn (Joel) of Opelika;  grandchildren, Christopher, Buckeye and Bozeman (Amber) of Valley, Darrian Brooks (Chris) of Valley, Samantha Osburn of Auburn, Nick Osburn of Opelika and Mary Osburn of Opelika; seven great-grandchildren; brother, Joseph Monroe Waller of Auburn;  nephews and nieces, Mike Ray (Meredith)  of Valley, Ray (Wendy) of LaFayette, Jason Newton of Valley, Adam Newton of Valley, Libby Newton of Valley, Beth Allen (Michael) of Huntsville, Heather Smith (Paul) of Valley and Greg Newton (Krystle) of  Valley; and in-laws, Randy Newton (Deborah), Andy Newton (Wanda) and Scott Rienhart (Jo Ann).  She had a multitude of friends that she was able to maintain throughout her life. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph Robert Waller and Bonnie Sue (Johnson) Waller;  daughter, Stacey Dianna Newton and Eddie Newton of Opelika, Alma Newton of Opelika and Nathan Newton of Valley and her beloved furbaby, Aubie. 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at 1 p.m. EST at Fairfax Cemetery in Valley with Reverend Rick Richards officiating.  Family and friends will gather at the cemetery prior to the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to the National Kidney Foundation at in Mary Sue Newton’s memory, or flowers will be accepted.

A special thank you to all the staff at Oak Park Nursing Home and Da Vita Opelika At Home for their excellent care and compassion.

Visit to sign the online guest book or light a memory candle.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley directing.