Thinker 07

Richard E. Winston

July 8, 1942 ~ January 23, 2022 (age 79)


Born to Elmer R. Winston and Viola B. Krick in Port Angeles, WA, Richard is the second of 6 children.  One of his early, happy memories is that his playground was the Olympic National Forest; he roamed there on his own, no one worried much about where kids played during those days. The Winston family moved to Minnesota for a short time, then moved back to the Pacific Northwest, ultimately landing in Tacoma. 


Richards’s father passed away by the time Richard was 12, leaving his mother with 6 children to raise.  The youngest, Mike, was about 6 months old. Life was difficult at times, but Richard and all his siblings were able to attend parochial schools at least for elementary education.  Richard attended Bellarmine High for 2 years, and then finished at Stadium High in 1960.  He worked at Boys Club during high school years, giving his earnings to his mother to help support the family.  Though busy with school and work, he still found time to participate in Junior Achievement and take part in school dramas.


Richard joined the US Air Force after graduation, and was stationed in northern Japan where his unit monitored Russian submarines.  Off hours, he and several buddies found some fun in ballroom dancing lessons….at Arthur Murray.


After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, Richard attended college: first in Tacoma; then transferred to University of Washington to complete his education with a Bachelors degree in marketing and international business.  He and good friend Bill Loew (who also was best man at his wedding) boarded with a local family on Sunnyside Ave N in Seattle, who rented extra rooms to college students.


Richard got to know some of the neighbors on Sunnyside , including the Paulls who had 10 children.  Eventually, Richard and the oldest, Nancy, met and got to know each other, mostly on long walks throug h the neighborhood.  She found his good looks and sparkling blue & brown eyes irresistible. Other getaways from the noisy Paull household included evening trips to Ivar’s along the Seattle waterfront to share clam chowder, or taking advantage of the Olympic pool at UW, even in the coldest winter, where Nancy’s hair froze on the way to the car one time.


Richard and Nancy married on March 16, 1968.


Richard began a 30-plus-year career as a claims representative, first with Commercial Union Insurance Company (or Commercial Onion, depending upon the mood) first in Seattle, then in Sacramento for a time, and finally to Portland upon his promotion to manager.  In 1980, Richard and “Commercial Onion” agreed mutually to part company.  Within one week, Richard took a position at St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co, which, to the lament of Nancy, wasn’t long enough for them to have lunch together even once.  Richard also pursued additional certification specifically for insurance.  Study was so boring he likened it to “licking dry rocks.”  Two friends once gave him a nicely wrapped box of dry rocks one birthday with mischievous smiles.


While those 30 plus years were beginning, the Winston family grew with the addition of Leslie in December of 1968 and Marcus in February of 1970.  Two children did not keep the Winston parents busy enough; they also cared for two of the younger Paull children at various times and various circumstances.  The youngest, Connie, started kindergarten under their care.  Tim, then 14, introduced both Winston parents to early teens and junior high school.  The Winstons also hosted several exchange students while Leslie and Marcus were in high school.  Junko came first and is still part of our family circle as is her sister, Yoko.


Richard always had a strong sense of right and wrong, which he used throughout his life and career.  That, along with his working knowledge of liability law in Washington, Oregon and California, earned him a great deal of professional respect. One incident he related to Nancy stood out: For one claim he was defending in Eugene, Richard refused to increase the amount offered to the claimant as demanded by the judge.  The claim manager, Mel, agreed with Richard.  The unhappy judge told Richard he was barred from appearing in his court from then on.  Richard simply smiled.  Sometime later, that judge changed his mind, and Richard was again welcome in that courtroom.


Throughout all the working years, Richard and crew camped up and down the west coast from British Columbia to southern California, and even into Arizona.  Many of the camping trips were centered around arts & crafts shows and fairs for Nancy’s pottery business.  He supported her business, from the first hand-built wheel to the 14 cubic foot double-walled kiln, to the small Chevrolet LUV truck that hauled everything where it needed to go (including pottery and family).


Richard came to faith in Jesus after moving to Portland, where he and Nancy met neighbors, Stan and Diane Scrutton who invited them to church and Bible Study Fellowship.   The Scruttons (along with Luis Palau) were an example that led Richard to Christianity and a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Both Richard and Nancy served as Awana leaders, memorized scripture along with the kids, played Awana games and managed to drive safely to and from church with kids bouncing around in the car. The kids, after reaching high school, begged both parents to “please, please join an adult class!”  Sigh! They got the hint.


Richard retired after Leslie’s wedding in 1999 having become more frustrated with the political side of the work, and determined to enjoy some years in retirement pursuing his own interests: friendships, woodworking, and gardening.  He bought and assembled a sizeable greenhouse, which was always filled with a diverse array of vegetables, and even a few ‘specimen’ quality plants. He also spent part of his retirement years being a handyman, finishing part of the basement in his house for a pool table and TV room. This kind of work necessitated lots of tools, which he was happy to find while estate-sale-ing (shopping) with his friend Al.  Coffee was the most enduring part of the friendships and retirement activity.  In fact, family and friends knew his blood type as C.


The best part of retirement was the addition of 4 grandchildren:  Eisig in 2002; Eli in 2005; Matthew and Sophia in 2009.  All four delighted in playing with their Boppa whether tying his hands with knotted strings, draping matchbox car tracks over his legs and racing, “helping” him to play solitaire, or brushing his face with makeup and running circles around him on the Trolley Trail.


Richard always had a sense of humor, quick and usually kind but sometimes sarcastic.  Both immediate and extended family noted his sense of humor stayed with him to the end. He was also always well-known for playing – and especially winning – all kinds of card games. And coffee. 


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him."

~ John 3:16-17

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Celebration of Life
March 26, 2022

11:00 AM
Stehn Family Chapels Milwaukie Tribute Center
2906 SE Harrison Street
Milwaukie, OR 97222

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