Dr. Joel Edward Winker, 80, of Rutherfordton, went to be with the Lord on Friday, October 20, 2017 at Oakland Living Center.
Born September 15, 1937 in Belleville, Illinois, he was the son of the late Irwin Walker and Florence Elizabeth Seubert Winker. Dr. Winker graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, MO in 1959, and Cornell Medical School in 1963. He did his internship at Great Lakes Hospital in Waukegan, Illinois and completed his residency at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Winker served actively for ten years in the U.S. Navy, achieving the grade of Commander. He was appointed to the Medical Corps for temporary service in the Reserve of the U.S. Navy in 1972. In March 1974 he was transferred to the Retired Reserve. While in the Navy, Dr. Winker received two letters of commendation. In 1972 he joined the Norris Biggs Clinic and the medical staff of Rutherford Hospital and served as Chief of Staff from 1985 to 1986. He was recognized by his peers for his excellent service to both patients and the hospital with the Stewart L. Mooring Award in 2000. He later co-founded Rutherford OB-Gyn where he worked until 2002. He often said he was fortunate to have a job he loved so much. After a brief retirement he went back to work at the Cleveland County Health Department Clinic from November 2004 until he fully retired in March 2012. In addition to his medical service he was active in the Rutherfordton Kiwanis Club.
Dr. Winker was a devoted member of the Rutherfordton Presbyterian Church where he focused his service on teaching youth Sunday School to dozens of young people. He faithfully served God through serving his church and community.
He enjoyed telling stories growing up in Mascoutah and Belleville, Illinois. He loved travelling back there for the annual August Mascoutah High School Class Reunions, seeing his old friends and family there and visiting the places he loved and sharing memories. Last and certainly not least, he loved seeing his beloved St. Louis Cardinals play ball!
Dr. Winker enjoyed cruising and being at sea. He loved having the vast ocean surrounding him in the Caribbean and seeing the sites and hearing their history. He especially loved the awesome wonder and peace in Glacier Bay, Alaska. He loved the North Carolina Mountains and foothills and spent much time driving around enjoying the beauty of God's creation, especially the many colors of fall. He loved to tell the story of coming to North Carolina for his job interview in Rutherfordton. He was sitting in a restaurant having breakfast and the sun came up over Lake Lure and he knew he was home.
He was an avid sports fan. He enjoyed college basketball, Carolina Panther football, golf, Forest City Owls, and most of all, St. Louis Cardinal baseball. His free moments were spent cheering the Cardinals, trying to figure out the game of golf, and most of all cheering on his grandchildren unconditionally in their many endeavors.
Surviving are his wife, Brenda Rector Winker of the home; son Dr. Guyton Winker and wife Nancy of Rutherfordton; daughter, Kristen Williams and husband Frank of Matthews, NC; five grandchildren, Rebecca Spring, Anna Alley, Joseph Winker, Adam Williams and Christopher Williams.
Also surviving him are his stepdaughters, Melissa Johnson and husband Jay of Rutherfordton and Jessica Butler and husband Travis of Mooresboro; six step grandchildren, Caleb and Cara Johnson, Carolyne, Chloey and Cathan Butler, and Jayda Davis. Also surviving is his dear aunt Marilyn Schaefer and her daughter Holly Schaefer Irving of Madison, Wisconsin. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Sharon Barttelbort Winker.
A Celebration of Life will be held 11:00 AM Saturday, November 4, 2017 at Rutherfordton Presbyterian Church with Dr. Donald Scofield officiating. The family will receive friends from 9:30 until 11:00 AM prior to the service in the church fellowship hall. A private burial will be held in the Memorial Garden at Rutherfordton Presbyterian Church. Military honors will be provided by the Rutherford County Veterans Honor Guard.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Rutherfordton Presbyterian Church Our Future Building fund, PO Box 1133, 252 North Washington Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139.
Online condolences at crowemortuary.com
Crowe's Mortuary is assisting the family of Dr. Joel Winker.