Fred Van Winkle, 72, of Ruidoso passed away on Monday, April 28, 2014, in Albuquerque at Presbyterian Hospital following a sudden illness.
Fred was born in May of 1941 to the late Pike and Sybil Van Winkle in Rogers. He was the tenth of 14 children. Fred loved and cared for his family and always extended a loving, compassionate hand to others. Fred's big heart was recognized and appreciated by those who knew him well.
Fred developed his work ethic by riding along with his father on his rural mail carrier route, working at a local gas station late nights as a young teen and following in his brothers' footsteps in the grocery business. He was especially fond and indebted to Mr. Grady Beard of Grady's Supermarket in Portales who set him on the path of becoming a grocery businessman. He worked 30 years in the grocery business for grocery store chains in Texas and Oklahoma. In the early 1980s, he partnered with his brothers Al and Jim, opening the first of seven Van Winkle's IGA grocery stores. He served as the president of New Mexico Grocer's Association and is well remembered by his many customers and employees for the service and support he offered the communities in which he worked.
He married his sweetheart, Jimmie Louise Parker, in 1959. Together they raised their family, spoiled and cherished their grandchildren and shared many life adventures together until her death in 2002. He loved teaching his grandsons carpentry and always kept busy fixin' things. Race horses became his hobby in later years, and he made many good friends in the horse-racing community. In recent years he shared love and life with Liz Robinson and their two dogs Lucky and Stella. He loved to travel, and as recently as August 2013, he shared a road trip from Montana to New Mexico with his grandson, falling in love with yet another new place, Glacier, Mont. He forever kept his entrepreneurial spirit and taught his grandchildren the importance of treating others with respect and fairness.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Pike and Sybil; his wife Jimmie Parker Van Winkle and his siblings: Gerald Van Winkle, Joy McGaha, Wanda Hankins, Joann Ussery, Al Van Winkle and Buck Van Winkle. Survivors include his children: Tammy (Guy) Sprague, Brian Van Winkle, Haley Van Winkle and companion Lin Werkheiser, and his grandchildren: Brandon (Patricia) Sprague, Parker (Lisa) Sprague, Jordan Sprague, Madalyn Sprague, Amy (Larry May), Colby Van Winkle, Keegan Van Winkle and their mother Judy Van Winkle, great grandchildren Hunter and Mason May and Phoebe Laree Sprague. He is also survived by his siblings: Wayne (Pete) Van Winkle, Vera Arnold, Helen Hester, Bill Van Winkle, Cookie McGee, Janice Turner, Jim Van Winkle and their respective spouses, numerous nieces, nephews, countless friends and by his very dear, long-time companion, Elizabeth (Liz) Robinson. Also surviving him is his four-legged best friend Mr. Lucky.
A Memorial Service/Celebration of Life will be held at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, May 4, in the north banquet room of Cree Meadows Country Club in Ruidoso.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Humane Society of Lincoln County, the website is: http://www.hslcnm.org/donate/ Online condolences can be made at www.riversidefunerals.com
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from May 2 to June 1, 2014