WINTON ALLEN WINTER, 82, who lived, worked and raised his family in Ottawa, Kansas, died Saturday, May 4, 2013 at Lawrence (Kansas) Memorial Hospital from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.
A true son of Kansas, Wint was the youngest of Milton Shipman (Ship) and Fay Young Winter’s three children, including Milton Shipman Winter, Jr. and Virginia Jo Winter Anderson. The Winter family lived in Lawrence. His siblings and parents preceded him in death as did his grandson, Steven Graham Winter Stingley.
Wint attended Lawrence public schools and the University of Kansas, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi, the KU football team, the Naval ROTC.
In 1952, he married Nancy Mae Morsbach, of Wichita, after graduating with a business degree. They remained married until Wint’s death.
Captain Winter served in Korea with the United States Marine Corp. He was a proud Marine.
After the war, Wint and Nancy moved back to Lawrence, where Wint sold cars for Ship Winter Chevrolet and attended KU law school on the GI Bill. In 1958, they moved to Ottawa where Wint joined the law office of Basil W. Kelsey. He soon became a judge of Franklin County, Kansas District Court, which made him the youngest judge in Kansas history. In the 1960’s, Wint served the American Bar Association as Chairman of its Young Lawyers Section.
Wint was a classic entrepreneur — and an innovative one.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, he operated ranches in the Kansas Flint Hills east of Junction City and, later, near Williamsburg, KS. Wint was an early promoter of the Simmental breed of cattle in America and had interests in real estate, nursery production, oil production, restaurants and community banking in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Mississippi, Nebraska and other states. During the 70’s and 80’s, he co-owned one of the largest Pizza Hut franchises in the United States.
In 1971, Wint left the active practice of law in favor of pursuing several different businesses, the most rewarding of which was Chairman of Peoples, Inc, which initially operated Peoples National Bank of Ottawa but grew into a multi-state, community banking business. His office in downtown Ottawa at Peoples Bank was from where he managed his business interests and enjoyed many of his most important personal relationships. He was consistently proud being on the Peoples team.
Wint was a leading figure in Kansas politics. He was elected to the Kansas Senate in 1968 serving Franklin, Douglas, Anderson, Osage and Miami Counties until 1980. He chaired both the Judiciary Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, from which he championed Kansas’ investment in higher education.
An early legislative victory was a bill creating the Living Will. He also advanced the thorny issues of prison reform, social services, reproductive choice, rural medical care, capital punishment, mental health and more prosaic topics such as the bill allowing Kansas drivers to turn right on red. Wint was also into Republican electoral politics; he was a key part of numerous local, state and national political races.
Athletics is a strong part of Wint’s legacy. He lettered in three sports at Liberty Memorial (now Lawrence) High School and for three years as a fighting Kansas Jayhawk. He spent a lot of time in the 70’s and 80’s as a big fan of the Ottawa High Cyclones. But it was his 30-year membership in the KU Rugby Football Club and his Ottawa University “dawnball” group that are the highlights of the mature phase of his athletic career, which was studded with more than the usual attention from disapproving referees.
Wint’s hands and body were not necessarily more quick or sure than others’, but he often used them in a more inventive and determined manner.
Wint stayed on the move his entire adult life, traveling the world before his disease kept him close, although in recent years he and his friend, Bob, regularly took car trips throughout Kansas and the West. Wint was a pilot who often took his family with him as he flew to the often remote places he did business, instilling in all of them curiosity and respect for cultural traditions. He often eschewed popular destinations in favor of those more challenging. He was clearly an adherent of the road less-traveled philosophy of life.
Wint’s interests were deep — in nature, embodied by mountain climbing and planting thousands of trees; in military history by his deep respect of veterans; in Kansas by his own pre-Civil War Kansas ancestors, in the Jayhawks by witnessing hundreds of athletic contests across the country, in geopolitics by his travels and in education by constantly observing, reading and story-telling.
There are many people in Wint’s life who helped him in important ways, but among the most significant are the late Lynnette Shutt and Roberta Compton, his long-time assistants, the late Ransom Bennett, his friend and trusted advisor and Bob Ramshaw, his devoted buddy in the final years of his fascinating and colorful life.
Wint is survived by his wife of 60 years, Nancy Morsbach Winter; his five children Winton Allen Winter Jr., (Mary Boyd Winter), Lawrence; Mary Elizabeth Winter-Stingley (Steve Stingley), Monument, CO; Daniel Patrick Winter, Portland, OR; Anne Cecelia Winter, Omaha and Adam Young Winter (Melissa Bell Winter), Colorado Springs as well as grandchildren Katie and Molly Winter, Elizabeth Lewis, Will, Seth and Colin Stingley, Tom, Jack and Lee Winter, Caroline Khan and Adam, Jr., Sarah and Mary Winter and two great-grandchildren, Walden Graham Stingley and Ella Rosemary Klein.
Cremation is planned. A memorial service will be Thursday, May 9, at 2 pm at Fredrikson Chapel on the campus of Ottawa University, 1001 S. Cedar, Ottawa KS, a reception will immediately follow at Peoples Bank, 5th & Main, Ottawa KS. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to The Elizabeth Layton Center — The Community Mental Health Center of Franklin and Miami Counties, or Grace Episcopal Church, c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas 66067. An online Guest Book is available at www.dengelmortuary.com.
Rock Chalk, Semper Fi and Ichiban, Wint!
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