Frederick Winkler died peacefully on March 1, 2017 in Austin, Texas at the age of 95.
Fred is survived by many loving nieces and nephews, including Karla Dennehy (Robert ), Fredrick Winkler (Margaret), Virginia Calise Brenner (Michael), Adelia Metcalf Woodward (Brian), Mary Poole (Lance), Edward Dismukes (Debby), Katherine Malm, and Margaret Massad (Julio). Fred is also survived by many great nieces and nephews, countless friends and neighbors. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by Eunice, his wife of 63 years, his only son Carl William, younger brothers Bill Winkler and Carl Winkler, and nephew Mike Dismukes.
Fred was born on August 24, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York to parents Frederick William Winkler and Hilda Grande Winkler. The Winkler family later moved to Texas for several years before returning home to New York, settling on Long Island. Fred graduated from Amityville High School in Massapequa in 1939.
After his high school graduation, Fred began working as an assembly mechanic for Republic Aviation, building P47 Thunderbolts. It was here that his love of aviation was born. During WWII, Fred enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and became an instructor pilot, training young pilots to fly the B25 Billy Mitchell. After his honorable discharge at the end of the war, Fred came to the University of Texas on the GI bill. While living in Austin, he was introduced to Eunice Metcalf. Fred knew right away he had found someone very special in this country girl from Arkansas. Fred and Eunice were married in Austin on June 4, 1949. They were married for more than 63 years, enjoying together all that life has to offer.
Upon his graduation from the University of Texas with a degree in mechanical engineering, Fred began his career working for the US Army Corps of Engineers and later for the Department of the Army, Civilian Service (DACS). His career took Fred and Eunice on many great adventures around the world. While living in Japan (1959-1963), they enjoyed traveling throughout the Far East with their young son Carl. When their assignment took them to Germany (1963-1965), the Winklers seized the opportunity and the family of 3 traveled all across Europe. Wherever they lived, the Winkler family immersed themselves in the local culture and made lifelong friends in the process. Upon returning to the United States, Fred continued his work for the federal government, now working for the EPA.
In addition to his career, Fred pursued many interests with a passion. Fitness and health was always a part of his lifestyle. At various times, he enjoyed tennis, racket ball, handball, jogging, and weight lifting. Fred and Eunice enjoyed square dancing for many years and developed lifelong friendships with their fellow dancers. Fred loved travel and particularly loved visiting the National Parks. Fred visited almost every national park as well as a great many of our nation's state parks. Hiking and camping were true passions. Later, Fred was able to give back to future generations by participating in countless volunteer vacation work trips, grooming and maintaining hiking trails around the country. He remained active in this trail work well into his 80's. He was named volunteer of the year by the American Hiking Society at the age of 82. He also remained passionate about aviation and continued to enjoy traveling to air shows around the country. At one show, when he mentioned that he had actually been a WWII flyboy and B25 instructor, Fred was invited to climb into the cockpit of the bomber to sign his name. He wondered aloud if any of his fellow Army Air Corps pilots would see his name in the cockpit and remember him.
Fred may best be remembered for his quick wit. If you know Fred, you no doubt have a funny story or two to share. In our family, no family occasion is complete without a few laughs, compliments of Fred Winkler. Our family gatherings will never be quite the same without him. Fred will be greatly missed.
The family would like to thank his faithful and loving caregiver, Gina Flores, for her dedication to Fred these last few months.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 10 at 2:00 pm at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 North Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX. A reception will follow at the home of Fred's niece.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in Fred's memory to Central Texas Trail Tamers (www.trailtamers.org), American Hiking Society (www.americanhiking.org), or the charity of your choice.