Obituary for Newell Flather
Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother
Newell Flather, of Newton, MA, died comfortably in his sleep early Monday, August 30, 2021, after a series of chronic health issues. His wife Kate Cameron Flather of 54 years was at his bedside. He is also survived by a son, Newell Flather of Newton; a daughter, Alice Rogers Flather and her partner, Antonia Szabari of Los Angeles, CA; a grandson, Felix Szabari of Los Angeles, CA; a sister, Allie Blodgett of Swampscott, MA; a sister, Betsey Haddad and her husband Richard of Willow Street, PA; a sister-in-law and her husband, Mary and Paul Neuhauser; a brother-in-law and his wife, Bill and Sharon Cameron; and several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Newell’s experience in Ghana, as a member of the first group of Peace Corp volunteers, drove his firm commitment to race and gender equality. On his return from West Africa, he went to work at the African-American Institute where he was introduced to the charitable foundation field.
After completing his MBA and 10 years in Boston banking, he partnered with two women and founded GMA Foundations, philanthropic services, which at the time, was believed to be a new business concept. He continued at GMA as president until his retirement in 2007.
He was a founding trustee of Oxfam-America and continued the board for nine years, 3 of which he served as president. He was on the board during the Cambodian crisis and was among the first to visit Phnom Penh following the Vietnamese liberation in 1979.
Newell has served as a director and past president, Associated Grantmakers of Massachusetts; overseer, Heller School, Brandeis; overseer, Harvard Graduate School of Design; trustee, Experiment in International Living (now a program of World Learning); overseer, Mass Historical Society; founding trustee, New England Foundation for the Arts; appointed director, Harvard Alumni Association; president, Harvard 1961 Class Committee; trustee, Theodore Edson Parker Foundation; trustee Rebecca Pomroy Foundation; trustee, Paul and Edith Babson Foundation; overseer, Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
He was a member of the National Peace Corps Association, The Harvard Club of Boston, The Boston Study Group, The Neighborhood Club of West Newton, and the Delphic Club the Hasty Pudding while at Harvard.
Born on February 28, 1938, Newell attended Lowell public schools, Noble and Greenough School ‘56, Lawrenceville School ‘57, Harvard College ‘61, BA; Columbia University ‘65, MA in International Studies; Harvard Business School 71, MBA.
He was an avid sports fan, loved the opera and visiting museums, and attending group functions, and to paraphrase a colleague, “Newell’s idea of a good time is a meeting”.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Care Dimensions caredimensions.org or the charity of your choice. Newell’s suggested list would be too long to enumerate.
His burial has taken place. We will gather for a memorial when COVID permits. Arrangements entrusted to the Morse-Bayliss Funeral Home, Lowell.