The Globe & Mail newspaper reported in its February 1st, 2001 edition that Rev. Dr. Newcombe had passed away at the age of 84. He was raised on a farm and grew up to become a school teacher and principal in one room schools in Ontario and Saskatchewan. He met Frances Menzies, his wife-to-be, in the early 40’s when he was a minister-in- training. She was the daughter of missionary parents who served in both Japan and China. Her brother, Arthur, was Canadian Ambassador to China some years ago. Ervin and Frances were married in Toronto in 1944.
They spent some months at Yale University studying Chinese before heading off to China. They arrived in Shanghai on the first of January 1947. They were posted to Zhangde in North Hunan where Frances had been born. They were to spend four and a half years in China under difficult circumstances. There was civil war between the Nationalist and Communist forces and within a short time in Zhangde, the Newcombes were forced to leave Henan and travel to Chengdu. In the fall of 1948, Ervin was appointed as Principal of the Canadian School, a position he held for two years. The Canadian School was closed permanently in the summer of 1950 and The Newcombes returned to Canada. They now had a daughter, Patricia, who was born in China in May 1948. Their son, Gordon, was born in November, 1950. Ervin was called to minister in Churchill, Ontario for two years, after which he was appointed Principal of a Teacher Training College in Trinidad. He trained local staff to take over the running of the college, including the Principalship. He and Frances left Trinidad in 1962.
Returning to Canada, Ervin lectured in the McGill Faculty of Education at Macdonald College in Ste Anne de Bellevue. (Phyllis Allen graduated in Household Science from the same college in 1958.) He completed his Doctorate in Education at the same time. In 1966, he was appointed Director of Psychological Services for the Hamilton School Board. He retired in 1981, but continued to work as a consultant for school boards in the Hamilton, Ontario area. In retirement, the Newcombes liked to spend time at their cottage at Eagle Lake, near Sundridge, which is 40 miles north of Huntsville, Ontario. Frances died in October, 1997.
Phyllis Allen remembers Patricia as a cute little toddler in Chengdu in 1949. She was occasionally invited to the Newcombe home for a meal when she was in Grade 9 in the temporary school at the former Stinson house. Mr. Newcombe not only was school principal for 10 students, but taught Phyllis Algebra and World History. Patricia is married to Chris Butler. They have one child and three grandchildren. The family lives in Hamilton, Ontario. Gordon, who is two years younger than Pat is a telephone banking consultant, working in Toronto. He lives in Burlington, Ontario. (Mr. Arthur Menzies, brother of Frances Menzies Newcombe provided the notes from his eulogy to Ervin and the obituary from the Globe & Mail).