Otto Luis Winkler, 90, of Sturbridge, MA died January 31, 2018 at home where he was surrounded by family that adored him and provided for his care. He was married for 69 years to Jean, the love of his life, who he referred to as his “current wife”. He (Pop-Pop) was loved beyond words by his family – Nona Cusick (Tim-predeceased), Karen (Hanford) Clay, Karl Winkler& Angel, John Winkler & Pamela in addition to 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
He was born of Sophie & Karl Luis Wilhelm Winkler and raised in Odense, Denmark where he served in the Danish underground in occupied Denmark and subsequently served in the Royal Danish Navy on a minesweeper in the North Sea. He immigrated from Denmark to the US on New Year’s Eve 1946 and was proud to be an American citizen. He worked hard and played hard for many years. He was a “hands-on” Dad long before it was fashionable and instilled a strong sense of family – a larger than life presence for his children especially. He raised his children with the expectation of working hard and doing the right thing and was immensely proud of their adult accomplishments. His oft repeated lessons were ingrained, “You help people because you can”, “free is good”, “family takes care of family” and that his love was unconditional and forever. He had an attitude of gratitude for all blessings in his life no matter how big or small.
He was a jack-of-all-trades and a Master at everything he did – hand shoveling the foundation for the first house he then built in Brimfield where he raised his family. His hands are most remembered, as they represented his strength and his tenderness – holding hands being one of his favorite things to do.
He and Jean enjoyed a 35-year retirement busy with travel, adventures, moving to South Dakota in his 70’s, and occasional handyman work where payment was made in homemade cookies. (Later in life cookies became known as Vitamin C.) He knew how to have fun and had an ever-present sense of humor! He was a solidly good human being who was universally loved by all who knew him. His recently adopted saying, “People like me” would be spoken with a smile but it was so true.
His faith was important to him and today he is surely walking with the angels and “was blind but now can see”. One can only imagine God saying “Well done Otto!.”
Sansoucy Funeral Home, Southbridge, MA is assisting the family. A private Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Memorial donations can be sent to the newly established New Hope United Church of Christ (which Otto proudly named) 345 Main St., Sturbridge 01566