Cledis William (C.W. or Bill) McNew, a longtime resident of Toledo, Washington went home to be with the Lord on Dec. 15, 2022, surrounded by family and loved ones after a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 64 years Margaret Lucille (Bangs) McNew, son Steve (Donna) McNew, son Mike (Peggy) McNew, daughter Anita (Glenn) Teeter and daughter Ann McNew (Mike Greenhalgh). He is also loved by 11 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and by many more family and friends. He was preceded in death by brothers Charles McNew, Cecil (Mac) McNew, Louis Griffin and James Griffin; and sisters Ethel Tillman, JoAnn Fleury, Sophia McNew and Evelyn Knoblock.
He was born Jan. 13, 1937, in Doniphan, Missouri to Sally (Triplett) and Charles McNew. Bill (Cledis to his siblings) was the last of his brothers and sisters to leave this beautiful world. He grew up in a large family and humble beginnings, working hard at a young age picking cotton. He found hope and peace in the love of a small country church as a young boy. This was the foundation of his faith and love of country gospel music that carried him to his last day. Upon finishing the eighth grade, he left home to find work and at 17 joined the U.S Army. After completing boot camp in Arkansas, he served in Fairbanks, Arkansas and completed his tour as a drill sergeant at Fort Lewis, Washington. While stationed at Fort Lewis he met the love of his life, Margaret (Bangs) in Roy, Washington. They married on July 5, 1958. The Bangs family welcomed Bill into their family like their own and he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. They introduced him to the timber industry and he found his passion and began a lifetime career in the woods — cutting/ falling, choker setting, owning his own logging company and opening Woodland Logging Supply. He was one of the first Stihl Chainsaw dealerships in the Northwest and was featured as a model in early advertisements. He loved the timber industry and the PNW so much he convinced some of his brothers and sister to join him in Washington.
In 1977, he moved his family to a farm in Toledo, Washington where they remained for the next 40 years and continued working in the timber industry. He enjoyed working the farm, raising animals, growing a beautiful garden and supporting his daughters with show horses. The grandchildren hold very special memories of the farm, including the best tree fort and corn on the cob.
In 1979 to 1980 he temporarily moved his family to Liberia, West Africa to continue his passion for the logging industry. This adventure was one of the highlights of his life. He enjoyed the local families, culture and experiencing all that Africa had to offer while living in the local villages. He returned to Toledo and started another logging operation. One of the things he enjoyed most about this journey was that his two sons joined him in the adventure.
Retirement was another highlight of his life journey. He and Margaret hit the road for 10 years in an International, pulling a fifth wheel and towing a jeep across America. They enjoyed seeing beautiful countries, spending time together, meeting new friends and park hosting. A few of his favorites were his hometown of Doniphan, Missouri, Padre Island, Texas and Yuma, Arizona. They also spent time hosting in beautiful Fort Flagger right here in Washington. A few of the grandchildren even got to join them on a very special trip through his town all the way to the Statue of Liberty.
After returning to Lewis County, he spent his remaining years with his wife, family and friends. He enjoyed watching anything the grandkids were doing. He could jump in a log truck, a police car for a ride along or attend a ball game on any given day. He loved to sit in the fishing shack on the Cowlitz River, where he kept the fire going, the coffee hot and the stories flowing.
Bill was a kind and generous man. He looked for an opportunity to pay it forward by being kind to people in need. After Hurricane Katrina, he and Margaret gathered and hauled a large cargo trailer of toys across the country to children in Louisiana. He was known for bringing strangers home, picking up a check for people in need and driving people broke down on the road home.
He looked forward to the music at the granges across Lewis County and often called it “his church.” One of his favorite songs to sing was “Why Me Lord.”
His humble beginnings taught him to appreciate the simple things in life — a loving wife, family, friends, beauty in the woods, hard work, a pot of pinto beans, cold Corona and a warm fishing cabin. He leaves behind a legacy of love, family and hard work.
Live the Grandpa McNew way: pay it forward. Bill will be missed by many but he is waiting for them on the Banks of Jordan.
A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2023, at the Cowlitz Prairie Grange, 5184 Jackson Highway, Toledo, Washington.