William “Bill” A. Tew, Jr.
William “Bill” A. Tew, Jr., 85, passed away on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. Bill was born in Durham, North Carolina, and grew up in the towns where his father served as a Methodist minister. He was a teacher, a church musician, and a performer. Bill began teaching, a career of more than 35 years, at Warwick High School in Newport News where he taught general music, male chorus, girls’ chorus and Acapella Choir. He later taught at Tabb High School and then switched to elementary schools in York County.
Throughout his life, Bill was a church musician. He directed a choir or played the organ in some denomination almost every Sunday until his retirement. His longest tenure was at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where he served as organist and choir master for almost 30 years. At various times, Bill sang with the Peninsula Civic Opera including the role of Fegan in Oliver and the title role in the Marriage of Figaro. He enjoyed Gilbert and Sullivan and sang with Euterpian Productions, the Norfolk Savoyards, and anyone else who was doing one. Bill always encouraged his high school students to join the choruses in the shows he was in. He was also a shape-note singer with a group in Kentucky.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents. W. Alton Tew, Sr., and Clara Mae Respess Tew.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Anne Shelby Griffith Tew.
A memorial service will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, April 16 at 2:00 p.m. Following the service, a reception and visitation will be held at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be to the Peninsula SPCA (https://peninsulaspca.org/), Operation Smile (https://www.operationsmile.org/), WHRO (https://whro.org/) or Virginia Living Museum (https://thevlm.org/).
Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.
I enjoyed my time with Mr Tew in Acapella Choir at Warwick High School class of 1965.
Also had Miss Griffith for English.
We were students at Tabb High. Male chorus, girls chorus, Acapella Choir, Chorale. All with Mr. Tew. Class of 1978 and 1979. We married in 1980. We have never forgotten him.
I am so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. He will be remembered as an excellent musician, teacher, and friend. Bill would always have a tip for me every time we were together with the schools and orchestra. Also, he loved to email and keep in touch with musicians and friends. Blessings and prayers are extended to his family.
With respect and love, Reggie Fox
Mr.Tew was one of my most beloved and influential teachers. I first met him in 1971 as a freshman in girls’ chorus at Warwick High School. I made it into Acapella Choir at the end of that year. I couldn’t wait to be part of his amazing Acapella Choir but it was not to be. That year my family moved to the Denbigh area so I was to attend Denbigh High School where amazingly, I heard that Mr. Tew was to be on staff there. Unfortunately for me, he decided to further his education during that year so he was not there. The following year my family moved again, I ended up at the brand new Tabb High School. Much to my surprise, who did I find walking the halls at Tabb? Mr. Tew of course! Those two years at Tabb High were Acapella heaven for me with my treasured teacher. I will never forget Mr. Tew. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
I was Mr. Tew Barber, at Arnells Barbershop, he missed his regular appointment he had on the 6th of April, I became concerned and called him especially when he didn’t return my call, RIP, from the barbers at Arnell, well wished to his family.