Alison Elizabeth Newhall, 73, passed away peacefully from cancer at her home in Coronado with her loving husband by her side on Saturday April 18, 2020.
Born in Chicago on May 8, 1946, Alison was the first of four children of John and Bette Atkinson. Nicknamed Cookie within the family, she was followed by brothers John and Dean and sister April. Alison’s first 15 years were spent in Chicago, until her grandparents moved to Coronado. Her family followed in the early 1960s, where Alison attended Coronado High School, graduating in 1964.
That summer, Alison returned to Chicago where she lived and worked for 12 years. She began her career in Herscher, Illinois, working at Hendrix Town & Country as a housewares buyer, later working at Montgomery Ward in Kankakee. Alison was married to Jack Cool, had two sons Christopher and Stephen, and returned to Coronado in May 1976 to raise her two boys.
Alison was employed by Home Federal Savings & Loan (HomeFed Bank) for the next 17 years, where she first worked in the branches, moving on to become a furniture buyer and forms manager. After the demise of HomeFed, Alison worked as an administrative assistant for The San Diego Consortium, then a local defense contractor, and finally in the offices of two Coronado physicians, retiring in September 2007. Always ambitious, Alison was a model employee.
On Jan. 11, 1981, Jim Newhall was wowed by the gorgeous girl in a Kelly green sweater, Alison, at a Charger tailgate party. A first date to Hussong’s Cantina ensued the next weekend, and the rest is history. Alison and Jim were married on July 7, 1984 on the rocks near Roeder Pavilion. They lived in and remodeled their home on F Avenue, then had a new house built on D Avenue in 1991. With her penchant for details and organization, Alison’s new-found construction expertise made her the ideal owner-builder-contractor to design and construct a new dream home where her parents had lived on J Avenue.
For the next 15 years, Alison reveled in being a well-organized homemaker and expert cook, who enjoyed hosting family gatherings, holiday decorating, gardening and floral arranging. A real “gadget girl,” Alison embraced broad technologies including computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, DVDs and various media to support her interests in photography, videography, digital sewing and embroidery, and genealogy. Family was very important to Alison, and she spent decades researching and chronicling her extended family through photos, videos and ancestry charts.
An expert in both sewing and embroidery, Alison fabricated numerous items of baby clothing for gifts and charitable donations. She supported the Neonatal ICU at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital the past five years by fabricating and donating 133 “snugglies” for premature newborns, and 55 covers for the NICU isolettes.
Alison loved animals and was known to rescue lizards from the street and return them to her garden. She was a member of the San Diego House Rabbit Society who volunteered her time at several animal shelters, and she adopted eight house bunnies over the past 25 years.
Alison loved to travel with destinations including Mexico, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Hawaii. Maui became her all-time favorite getaway where she loved to snorkel and swim with turtles and dolphins. She was an expert travel planner, still maintained close friendships with several 1964 CHS classmates, and helped organize several “Bubblegummers” reunion trips.
In addition to her siblings and two sons, Alison is survived by her loving husband Jim Newhall; step son Jim Newhall III; granddaughter Lauren Osterhoff; cousins Tom (Sheila) Hartnett, David (Cara) Hartnett and Colleen (Ted) Matthies; and bunny Davey. Alison was predeceased by her parents and by her “second parents” John and LoVilla Hartnett.
No services are planned. A private celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Alison’s was a life well-lived. She was a loving and caring person, family oriented, organized and dedicated, a special person who will be missed by her entire family.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to any of Alison’s favorite charities such as DAV, Honor Flight San Diego, Patriot Guard Riders, Amvets, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, VA Hospital, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, and San Diego House Rabbit Society.