Elmer A. Winters, 94, of Eau Claire, died November 17, 2021, at The Classic at Hillcrest Greens. He was born to John and Antoinette (Schmitz) Winters on June 24, 1927, in Annaheim, Saskatchewan, Canada. Growing up on a wheat farm in the time of the ”dust bowl” and the “Great Depression” as the fourth in a family of six children, Elmer felt he learned early the difference between the economic concepts of ”wants and needs.” He attended rural schools in Canada, moving to the United States in 1936 to Rusk County, Wisconsin. He graduated from the Ingram-Glen Flora High School and was valedictorian of his class. Following high school graduation, he was drafted into the Army, serving on occupation duty in Japan at the end of WWII. Upon returning to the United States, he attended Eau Claire State Teacher’s College, now UW-Eau Claire, graduating in 1951 with a B.S. Degree in History.
During his college years he enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, serving in a variety of units and positions over the next 25 years. He served as a training officer in the 32nd Division Headquarters when called to active duty in Fort Lewis, Washington, during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. It was during this time that he married Mildred Lyberg at Holy Ghost Church in Chippewa Falls on June 30, 1962. He retired from the Wisconsin National Guard with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1975.
Elmer spent his professional life as a secondary teacher at Colfax, Chippewa Falls, and Wisconsin Rapids, prior to joining the staff of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned both Master and Ph.D. degrees. He then joined the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1967 where he held a variety of positions until his retirement in 1992.
During his 25 years at the University, most of which he served as Chairman and Professor in the Department of Foundations of Education, he also served as Chairman of the University Athletic Committee and Faculty Athletic Representative. He was a ‘true blue’ Blugold backer, attending hundreds of games regardless of sport or gender.
During his career he received a variety of awards and honors from his peers and professional associations. He received the Excellence in Teaching award presented by the University Alumni Association, the University Excellence in Service award, and the University Distinguished Alumnus award. He was an active member of the National Council for the Social Studies, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Fraternity, Northwest Wisconsin Education Association, the Kiwanis Club of Eau Claire, the UWEC Foundation and served as president of the Alumni Association. He served on the Ecumenical Religious Center Board and was a life member of the VFW, the Wisconsin National Guard Association, and a longtime member of Newman Catholic Parish.
During his lengthy retirement, Elmer remained active in a variety of volunteer activities through his church and service club, serving the Saint Francis food pantry, the Community Table, Adopt-A-Highway program, and the UWEC Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. He spent many hours over the years exercising at the UWEC fitness center and walking in Putnam Heights. He also enjoyed working in his lawn and garden and spending time with friends. He enjoyed watching his grandsons play their various sports and spending time with his little granddaughter Kennedy, who lovingly called him Grandpa Boonie. She was the apple of his eye.
He is survived by his wife Millie, children Timothy (Pamela) Winters of Wauwatosa, Vicki (David) Romanski of Eau Claire, and Steven Winters of Eau Claire; grandchildren Vincent Romanski of New York City, Samuel Romanski of Madison, and Kennedy Winters of Eau Claire; his sister Geraldine (Robert) Clark of Belle Plaine, Minnesota; his sisters-in-law Vivian Hanson and Marlene Winters, and nieces, nephews, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Genevieve Johnson, and brothers Herbert, Patrick, and Russell.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 12 noon on Saturday, November 27, 2021, at Newman Catholic Parish at the Ecumenical Religious Center, 110 Garfield Ave., Eau Claire, with Father Dan Oudenhoven officiating. Visitation will take place at the church from 11 a.m. until the time of service. Inurnment will take place at Forest Hill cemetery at a later date. Due to the current situation, masks are requested to be worn while in the church.
Memorials may be directed to the Elmer Winters Scholarship Fund at the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, 127 Roosevelt Avenue, P.O. Box 1208, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1208.
The family would like to thank the staff at The Classic at Hillcrest Greens for their loving care of Elmer.
Hulke Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Rd., Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with arrangements.
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