William Gardner Winters, Jr. passed away peacefully on the 24th of April 2012 at the age of 93. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on the 17th of February 1919, to William G. Winters Sr. and Mary James Winters. |
Gardner spent his entire youth in Houston, graduating from San Jacinto High School; and Rice Institute in 1939. Upon graduation from Rice, Gardner enrolled in The University of Texas Law School where, after one year, he joined the U.S. Marine Corp. to support the war effort. During WWII, Gardner served in the 2nd Marine Division and rose to the rank of Major. As a Marine, he participated in many of the historic battles of the South Pacific theater including: Saipan, Tarawa, Guam, Guadacanal, Tulagi, and Iwo Jima; and was the operations officer that coordinated all naval and Marine Corp. artillery fire for the Iwo Jima engagement. He received The Bronze Star and The Navy Commendation Medal.
Once the war ended, Gardner returned to the United States and married the love of his life, Alice Jean Raymond Winters, on VJ-Day, the 14th of August 1945. He finished law school at the University of Texas in 1947, earning a Juris Doctorate. Upon graduation, Gardner embarked on a legal career spanning 39 years, specializing in trial work and complex litigation. His early career included working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Texas. Later, Gardner went to work for Shell Oil Co. where he worked until retiring as Senior Counsel in 1986.
Although Gardner had a busy legal career, he believed strongly in giving back to his church and community. He was a devout Episcopalian and the church was his heart. He was a founding member of The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, and served at various times as its Chancellor, Senior Warden, and Vestry member. He served on the board of the National Council of Churches under the late Bishop John Hines, and was a board member of St. Luke's Hospital and St. James Episcopal retirement home. He also served on the board of the Family Service Center and was a member of The Houston Club (Life Member).
Gardner was predeceased in death by his parents, William G. and Mary James Winters; his wife and soul mate of 59 years, Alice Jean Raymond Winters; and brother, James C. Winters. He is survived by his brother, Francis G. Winters; son, William G. Winters, III and wife, Suzanne, of New Braunfels,Texas; daughter, Marialice Winters Billingsley and husband, John M. Billingsley, II, of Tyler, Texas; daughter, Mimi Winters Hines and husband, Brian Lee Hines. Gardner is also survived by seven adoring grandchildren, William G. Winters, IV, Gregory James Winters, John M. Billingsley, III, Alice Virginia Billingsley, Margaret Louise Billingsley, Brian Lee Hines, Jr. and William Walker Hines; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The entire Winters family would like to acknowledge their deep appreciation to Annette Broxton for her devotion and love to our family for over 30 years. Also, special thanks to the wonderful caregivers, Marta Cazares, Minnie Cruz, Dolly Campos, and Syenny Malonda for their support and service.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from six until eight o'clock in the evening on Monday, the 30th of April, in the Library and Grand Foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
An interment service is to be conducted at half-past noon on Tuesday, the 1st of May, at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery, 12800 Westheimer Road in Houston.
The memorial service, celebrating the life of Gardner, is to follow at two o'clock in the afternoon at the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 12535 Perthshire Road in Houston, where the Rev. William Fowler, Rector, and the Rev. Melvin K. Gray are to co-officiate.
Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests that contributions in memory of Gardner be directed to the Holy Spirit Episcopal School, 12535 Perthshire Rd., Houston, TX, 77024.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Apr. 29 to Apr. 30, 2012