October 11, 1937 - October 23, 2019
Obituary for William Arthur Winchell who died peacefully October 23, 2019 with his wife Janice at his side.
William Arthur Winchell was born at Copley hospital in Aurora, Illinois, on October 11, 1937. He attended Mary A. Todd grade school, and was in the first class to start at Aurora West High school where he was a guard on the Football team. He attended Michigan State University on a wrestling scholarship and was a proud member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity at MSU! His father attended Michigan University, but we are all staunch MSU fans now!
Bill’s mother, Clara, raised him after his father died from a football injury suffered at Michigan University. Bill was only 4 when his father died, but he had great support from the Milton Weil’s who owned a shop in Aurora, where his mother worked as a bookkeeper. His cousins, Rita Falkos and Mavis Bore, were like sisters and provided some sibling rivalry when necessary!
Bill’s first roommate at Michigan State was Rich Peterson, and his two best friends from Aurora, Charles Boudreau and Dean Hamingson remain his best friends still. He was lucky to have wonderful fraternity brothers including Palmer Pyle, Howie Richardson, Roger Rowe, and high school friends that lasted all these years. Nothing can beat having good friends that LAST!
Bill was in ROTC in college, and joined the army Transportation Corps upon graduation. He was the port officer in Southampton supporting the US Army arrivals, and then he went to helicopter school in Weatherford Texas and was then sent to Vietnam from 1964-1967. He started out (of course) as a 2nd Lieutenant, and achieved the rank of Captain, which meant he was always “extended” in Vietnam, as Helicopter Pilots did not survive all that long. Out of his flight class of 26, only 2 returned alive. He flew dust-off missions, which meant he came in “hot”, and picked up the wounded and got them back to a medical facility. Very dangerous work! On one mission, the young man he picked up asked if Bill could get the song “Danny Boy” on his radio. He did…the young man died before they reached the medical clinic, and to this day neither Bill nor Janice can listen to that song!
Bill was awarded the Bronze Star for valor for one of his missions in Vietnam. He LOVED the ARMY! The order of it suited his orderly personality! He rarely talked about his time in Vietnam, did talk one time about getting shot down (over Laos) and having to capture the guard at the border to get back to Vietnam and some semblance of safety. When he finally made the rank of Major, he could leave the army, which he did in pretty short order. He has the WHGARA award for this (Who gives a Rat’s ….the plaque is on the wall in the bar at their house) when he was leaving!
Bill joined IBM in 1967 and met his wife Janice at IBM training class CST in Minneapolis. Their 51 year marriage has been a wonderful partnership, with both Bill and Janice being “type A” personalities this presented some interesting times. BUT THEY WERE ALWAYS ABLE TO WORK THINGS OUT!
Bill was the country manager for Hitachi Data Systems in Germany from 1987-1990, which worked out great for both Bill and Janice (who was a German and music major in college). Lots of wonderful travel while living in Frankfurt, Germany.
Bill taught his son Jimmy to waterski, by first having him try the skis in the pool, and pulling Jim to “get the feel of the skis” before trying them at Lake Lewisville. It worked REALLY WELL – Jim is, to this day, an excellent water and snow skier! Jim and Bill had a wonderful and loving relationship, and Jim was so sweet to his Dad, even though Bill was not his “biological” father, Bil adopted Jim and the day he was adopted, they found a $20.00 bill on the ground – pretty good sign!
Loving travel, Bill, Janice and Jim did many trips together including a memorable trip to Israel. Janice & Bill traveled to many locations especially to Europe to visit WWII sites…don’t think we missed many – and wouldn’t trade any of our times for anything!
Gonna miss my partner, as TEAM WINCHELL is now reduced to just 1 – Janice…Bill has been a stunning partner, friend, and goto kind of guy and both Jim and Janice will miss him, but know he is in a better place now – and at peace!.
We do not have a memorial service planned – if you wish to honor Bill, hold your loved ones close, tell them you love them often and rejoice in the times you have together!
We will have Bill cremated and then interred in the DFW National Cemetery south of Dallas.
Arrangements under the direction of:
Aria Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252
To express your sympathy with a flower arrangement please contact our florist.