Friday, January 28, 2022

Charley Winkle: 1924-2022

Posted By on Fri, Jan 28, 2022 at 5:43 AM

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Charley was born in the Dalles, Oregon, to John and Sarah Winkle. He was born at home and was one of 10 children. Life was different back then, and at a very young age Charley worked on the family farm. At the age of 5, he was driving a team of horses and had many responsibilities on the farm. His dream was to become a lawyer but, unfortunately, education was not valued at that time and he was only allowed to go to school consistently until about third grade and then only sporadically (when life on the farm allowed). When people complained about having to go to school, he would tell tales about how he would run away from home to go to school and would only go home when the sheriff would come and get him and make him leave (hence laws now requiring children to be in school).


His family moved to California when Charley was a young teen. Some of the family’s favorite stories are of him riding his horse from Bald Mountain to Arcata for various adventures, including his job setting pins at the Marino’s Bar Bowling Alley (yes, there were two lanes in the back room back in the day). After a full day of work, he would ride his horse into town to set pins at Marino’s and then ride his horse home to Bald Mountain, quite often sleeping while his faithful horse took him home.


Charley moved out on his own around the age of 14 and began working. He lived in a bunk house and was entirely responsible for his well-being. This started Charley’s official journey into the world of full-time employment and he didn’t stop until he was in his 80s. He retired twice but because of his expertise was always being asked to come back to work. In addition to logging, Charley operated heavy equipment and built many of the roads in Humboldt County. He worked on the original landscaping of College of the Redwoods, the installation of US Highway 101 and many other roadways in our region.


At the age of 18, during World War II, he joined the National Guard. He was stationed in the Presidio in San Francisco where he guarded the bay and bridges.


Charley’s hobbies included fishing, golfing, bowling, horse shoes, traveling in the U.S., and his all-time favorite was hunting. He was an avid deer hunter but ironically did not like venison, fortunately, his family did!


Charley was active until the last few months of his life. His eye-sight and hearing were limited but he managed to live a full life. Most of his friends had already passed so he spent his time with family. He was always ready to be picked up and taken to family events (graduations, birthday parties, family dinners, weddings and funerals). He enjoyed going out to breakfast every Wednesday morning with his children and monthly lunch adventures with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He spent his time at home mowing his property on his riding lawn mower and cleaning up brush. He was as active as he could be for the age of 97! Charley was a hard-working, practical guy who told it like he saw it. Shortly after Christmas he announced that he was going to make it to the new year, but not much further than that, and once again, he was right. He passed peacefully in his sleep in the care of his children on the afternoon of January the 22nd, 2022.


Charley is survived by his wife, Donna Winkle; children Don Winkle, Ida Pittman (Terry), Shirley Atkins (Terry), Judy Dorvall (Rocky) and David Winkle; step-sons Randy Cornelius and Kevin Cornelius; 16 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. He was larger than life, but in a quiet way and he will be missed by many.


Thank you, Dr. Skye Heston and staff and Hospice of Humboldt for your kind and professional care of Charley and valuable support to the family.


In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice of Humboldt. Thank you.



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