MADISON/TUCSON - Howard Winkler, age 93, left this world with a smile on his face in the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, knowing that he was on his way to meet Peggy (nee Margaret Eliza Jamieson), who had preceded him on Feb. 4, 2012, and with whom he had spent 69 years in an extraordinary marriage.
Howard was born in New York City to Max and Beatrice Winkler on Dec. 3, 1919. Growing up he was fascinated with birds, wetlands, insects, and other wildlife. While he would maintain these interests throughout his life, at the age of nine he had decided to become a physician. An outstanding woodsman, Howie joined the Boy Scouts early on and later, as an Eagle Scout, he served as counselor at scout camps in New Jersey, New York, and Wisconsin.
Howie attended Birch Wathen High School in New York where he avidly participated in sports and was the captain of his basketball team, leading him to try out for the University of Wisconsin basketball team as a freshman in the autumn of 1936. At 5'4" he made it to third cut.
Studying English and zoology at UW-Madison, including coursework with Aldo Leopold, Howie went on to realize his ambition by attending New York Medical College. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps after completing medical school, and after "the most wonderful day of my life," marrying Peggy on Dec. 23, 1943, in a ceremony held in Madison at the home of Rodney and Marion Jamieson with the Unitarian minister Kenneth Leo Patton presiding.
After time in Germany following World War II, Howie and Peg returned to Wisconsin, where Howie took over a medical practice in Pardeeville and served as a country doctor doing everything from delivering over one thousand babies to performing "brain surgery."
He and Peg raised four children, John, Thomas, Margaret, and Robin. During this time in Pardeeville, Howie honed his curling skills, a game about which an article in the local Madison paper featuring "the Jamieson rink" had caught his eye during his early days at UW-Madison, and later helped endear him to his future in-laws during his courtship of Peggy. Howie's curling team won the first Wisconsin state championship in 1957 and again in 1960.
In 1962, the family moved to Denver, Colorado, where Howie took a residency in Psychiatry and Neurology at the CU School of Medicine. His psychiatric practice in Denver and Durango, Colorado, and then Tucson, Arizona, continued well beyond his formal retirement in 1989 as he continued to consult and do locum tenens assignments around the country and in New Zealand. Howie was admitted as a fellow in the Fellowship of the American College of Physicians. Soon after Howie and Peg moved to Tucson, he signed up for the docent training program at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and became one of the longest serving members of the docent team, not only cleaning tarantula cages but also leading "fantastic bird and natural history walks."
We will cherish memories of Howie's laugh and smile, plant and bird identification, his love of splitting wood in northern Wisconsin, reading, two finger speed typing letters to friends and family, enjoying a good meal at holidays with unique auditory accompaniment, his commitment to his extended family, friends, and patients, and above all, his devotion to his beloved Peggy.
Howard is survived by daughter, Margaret (Mike Jiru) of Madison, Wisconsin; sons, John (Mei) of Houston, Texas, Tom (Trisha ) of Salem, Oregon, and Robin (Mei Hua) of Taipei, Taiwan; granddaughter, Margaretmei of Houston; and grandsons, Colin and Jamieson of Salem.
A family service will be held in the north woods of Wisconsin where Peggy and Howie requested their ashes be returned to the Earth. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.