James T. Winzeler (Jim)
died unexpectedly on Sept. 16, 2013 in Reno, Nev. at age 88, of arteriosclerosis. Jim was born in Akron, Ohio and grew up in Canton, where he attended and graduated from Lehman High School in 1943. Shortly after graduation he entered the army, served in Germany during the final phase of the war and was honorably discharged in 1946. Following his military service he enrolled and graduated from the University of Chicago on the GI Bill, after which he pursued graduate study in English literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Jim lived an unconventional but rich and full life, much of it abroad. His army experience and his education created a strong desire to see the wider world. After his university studies he took a job as a schoolteacher on Guam, Micronesia for three years. From there he moved to Brazil where he lived for the next five years, mainly in Fortaleza in the far northeast, where he managed a US bi-national center for the American government. He left Brazil and a secure position with the US state department after contracting hepatitis and, following a brief return to Canton, moved to Japan. Here he remained for the next 25 years, his longest and most satisfying stay anywhere. In Japan he lived in Kyoto in an old traditional Japanese house, joined the faculty at Doshisha University and opened and for many years ran an English school on the side. After retirement in Japan, and partly because he could speak Portuguese, he moved to Coimbra, Portugal, where he again taught English, for the next 12 years. When nearly 80 he was persuaded by his family to return to the US and moved to St. Petersburg, Fla. where he remained until April of this year when he moved to Reno to be close to his younger brother, Bob and sister-in-law, Judy in what turned out to be his final months. Wherever he lived Jim made friends easily, lived in the local community and immersed himself in the local culture. While overseas he remained close to his parents while they were alive and to his brother and sister and their families, through visits, letters and photos. He greatly valued travel, art and literature and loved animals. Jim did not seek material wealth, marriage and children, a successful conventional career or even the security sought by many people. Of his own free will, he chose the road less traveled and never indicated any regrets for having done so.
Jim is survived by his younger brother, Robert Winzeler of Reno, Nev.; his younger sister, Sally Brownfield of Mt. Clemens, Mich.; three nieces and one nephew, and five grand-nieces and nephews, all of whom wish he was still here, but take some comfort in knowing that his time had come. He spent his last evening with Judy and Bob, talking happily about their recent trip abroad and looking forward to seeing the photos.
Services will be private.
Published in The Repository on Nov. 24, 2013