OBITUARY: John C. Winkelman
On the first day of spring, at the age of 52, John made his journey from this world after a two-and-a-half-year battle with ALS. He endured his terrible disease with unbelievable grace and an unwavering sense of humor. John passed away at home surrounded by his loving family. He was a good man who will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
John was born in Palo Alto and raised in South Lake Tahoe where, as a young boy, he discovered his passion and gift for skiing. John attended South Lake Tahoe High School and was awarded a ski scholarship to attend Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado where he earned a degree in Physical Education. Over the course of his career, John worked for various technology companies including Unisys, Wang, Apple Computer, and Glenayre.
Los Altos became John’s home when he married Claudia, his wife of 21 years. Together they raised Lauren (20), Lindsay (18), and Annie (14). He adored and so enjoyed his three beautiful and loving daughters. John felt great devotion to his brothers, Karl (Katherine), Erik, and Kurt. He also shared a special relationship with his mother-in-law, Joanne Runge, and his sister-in-law, Robin LaRoy (Jim). John was predeceased by his mother, Joan Winkelman-Boe; stepfather, Wesley Boe; and father-in-law, Bob Runge.
John’s remarkable athleticism and dedication to his sport led to his participation in the downhill and giant slalom events at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games. At the age of 38, John took up the sport of ice hockey and played on several league teams, ultimately becoming a hockey referee. With his warm and engaging personality, John quickly became part of the close-knit hockey community.
John especially looked forward to and treasured his annual Boys’ Weekend ski trips with his beloved friends, which over the course of 30 years took them to almost every ski resort in the Western United States and Canada. Recent joys included the renewed friendship of high school classmates who gathered around him over the past months and lifted his spirits during the progression of his disease. John cherished his many friends, but placed his love of family above all else.
John always had a twinkle in his eye, his glass was always half full, and he was always “Just happy to be here.”
John’s CaringBridge website may be visited to view his journal:
A Celebration of John’s Life will be held Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 11:00AM at Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Avenue, Los Altos, CA.
If desired, donations in John’s memory may be made to ALS Association Golden Gate Chapter, One Embarcadero Center, Suite 1530, San Francisco, CA 94111; or Forbes Norris MDA/ALS Research and Treatment Center, 2324 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.
Friends have established a memorial fund to help with college expenses for John’s children. Contributions may be made at any Wells Fargo Bank to: John Winkelman Memorial Fund, account ending in 3694.
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