Gary J. Wintjen, 68, of San Antonio, Texas, passed away peacefully in the arms of his loving wife of 26 years on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas.
He was born the son of Arthur and Lucy Wintjen in Alton on Sept. 25, 1946. To many who knew and loved him, he was known as “Winch.”
Gary had a handsome and hearty face and he never met a stranger. “Winch” was larger than life. He was an All-American Wrestler at Eastern Illinois University. After college, he taught for 33 years in Bethalto. He wasn’t just a teacher; he was a Principal, Coach, Athletic Director and Driver’s Ed Instructor. Gary inspired students and staff alike. While he was teaching, Gary went on to earn a Master’s of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. After retirement, Gary never stopped teaching, coaching or motivating others. Gary had the passion and capacity to enjoy life to the fullest; he was a friend, wrestler, hunter, fisherman, comedian, golfer, knife collector, archer, marksman and most of all a hero. He will be remembered by many, for many different reasons, but “Winch” will never be forgotten.
Wintjen is survived by his wife, Carol Wintjen; son, Charles E. Smith; daughter, Amy Poll; five grandchildren, Owen and Dylan Smith and Cody, Kristian and Stephanie Poll; daughter-in-law, Dima F. Kalakech; sister, Wanda Sipes; brother, Bob Davenport; and many nieces and nephews that he loved dearly.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Lucy Wintjen; daughter, Ashley Wintjen, and two brothers, Donald and Bill Davenport.
Memorial visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Pitchford Funeral Home in Wood River.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Lewy Body Dementia Association, 912 Killian Hill Road, S.W., Lilburn, GA 30047, http://www.lbda.org.
Online guestbook available at www.pitchfordfuneralhome.com.