Ray passed away, Thursday, November 9, 2023, at his home with his family and caregivers by his side, and went to be with his Lord and Savior. He lived all of his 37,131 days (101 years) to the fullest. Ray was born on March 13, 1922 in Harbor Beach, MI, the son of Herman and Elsie (Laeder) Winkel. He graduated from Pigeon High School in 1939. At age 19 he met Bernadine Nicholl at a dance and they married 5 years (to the day) after that on March 30, 1946. He attended Cleary College and graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in Mortuary Science. Ray served in the US Navy from 1943-1946 during World War II, mostly in the South Pacific. Ray and Bernie moved to Otsego in 1956, where they owned Winkel Funeral Home and compassionately served the community until their retirement in 1984. Ray was a member of Peace Lutheran Church, where he held many offices and helped build both of their churches and parsonages. He was a member of the Otsego Chamber of Commerce, Otsego Lions Club and VFW Post 3030. For 10 years, Ray served on the Otsego Public Schools Board of Education.
As a young man, he played football, basketball and softball and as an adult, he coached Little League. Ray spent many hours on the dance floor with Bernie, square dancing and dancing polkas at family weddings. He loved spending time at Pine Lake and organizing WinkelFest, a gathering of his family for over 39 years. He enjoyed deer hunting at his favorite place, the Winkaway Lodge, as well as fishing, traveling and bowling. Ray played tennis with local seniors until he was 90 years old. He encouraged his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to play all sorts of sports and attended their events whenever he could. An avid fan of Otsego Boys’ and Girls’ basketball, Ray attended many games, until his health kept him away after age 100. He enjoyed playing many types of card games including cribbage all his life, most recently with his dear friends at The Fountains, where Ray and Bernie had lived since 2012. Ray’s compassion, wisdom, quick wit, deep love and devotion to his family and friends will be profoundly missed.
Surviving are his children, Carol (Don) Wuebbling of Ohio, Judy (Tim) Conroy of Connecticut, Jim (Jo Ann) Winkel of Pine Lake, Tom (Carol) Winkel of Grand Rapids; 9 grandchildren, Matt (Leighton) Wuebbling, Monica (Hayle) Chun, Kelwin (Paul) Newman, Kaitlin (Michael) Ervin, Erin (Eric) Nordstrom, Adam (Abby) Winkel, Eric (Jen) Winkel, Andy (Erin) Winkel and Stephanie Ryan; 21 great grandchildren, who lovingly called him Grandpa Ray; many nieces and nephews; his dear friend and companion Ann Wedel.
For the past 11 years, Sandy Rimpson, along with her team including Crystal, Lindsey, Quilla, Joe, Roy, Naomi, Tobi, Marina, Shamisha, David and Michelle have lovingly cared for all of Ray and Bernie’s needs, for which their family is eternally grateful.
Ray was preceded in death by his beloved wife and partner of 74 years, Bernie in 2020; his brother Keith and sister Barbara Schmidt; in-laws, Bob and Gin Nicholl, Max and Doris Nicholl, Fran Winkel, Joe Schmidt; nieces Karen Hansen, Julie Lovelace and Jean Winkel.
Friends may meet with his family from 5-7pm, Sunday, November 12, 2023, at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am, Monday, November 13, 2023 at Peace Lutheran Church in Otsego, Pastor Nathaniel Timmermann officiating.
Burial will follow at Mountain Home Cemetery in Otsego.
The family would like to thank the nurses and staff of Centrica Hospice for their compassionate care during his final weeks.
Messages of condolence may be posted at www.WinkelFuneralHome.com.