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NEIL ROBERT WINTHER
With very heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Neil R. Winther.
Neil is survived by his wife Gisele, and sisters, Donna Dickey (Robert) and Corinne Edwards (Robert). He is also survived by his uncle and aunt, Ernie and Susan Winther. Neil was the proud father of two daughters, Andrea Winther Klippenstein (Kevin) and Stephanie Catteeuw (Allan), and proud grandfather to Sydney, Natalie, Lily, and William. He was also an uncle to Colin Dickey (Krista) and Jon Dickey (Kyla) and a great-uncle to their children, Brooklyn, Brianna, Cooper, and Brynn.
Neil was born on February 13, 1950, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but grew up on the Winther Farm in Ostenfeld, Manitoba. As a child, he attended Pinewood School, taught by his Auntie Susan. He later earned his Bachelor of Physical Education and Education certificate from the University of Manitoba (U of M). Once he completed his teaching certificate, he taught Physical Education in Churchill, Manitoba, from 1975 to 1977 and had many Arctic adventures. Around this time, he acquired his pilot's license and developed a love for flying. An inquiring mind, he then pursued his Master's in Education and Ph.D. from the University of Alberta. Neil was Associate Professor and later Acting Associate Dean of the Physical Education Program at the U of M until 1995. Neil later joined Arctic Glacier Inc. as the Vice President of Human Resources and Administration, an organization he was dedicated to for 20 years.
Neil's most outstanding achievements include founding the Northern Fly-In Sports Camps (1987), a non-profit corporation dedicated to leisure education and leadership training in remote Northern communities. After retirement, he created the "Good Life Club," a weekly gathering at the Winther Farm in Ostenfeld. The goal was to create cozy social gatherings with family and friends, including a pot-luck-style meal and a fire. Neil also sent over 250 Good Life Club newsletters to members, including photos, updates, and opportunities to connect. In his words, the goal was to create a space where people could feel "happy and relaxed while enjoying the simple pleasures in life." Among his other simple pleasures, Neil loved long rides on his Harley Davidson, being in the quiet of nature, and chopping wood at the farm. He was a farm boy at heart.
A special thanks to the community of Ostenfeld, his dear friends Carl and Yvette Yestrau, and his next-door neighbours in Ostenfeld, the Bagnall family.
A private memorial will be held with close family and friends at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the ALS Society (www.als.ca) in remembrance of Neil's mother, Frances Winther.
Peace and Love
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on May 25, 2023
Condolences & Memories (13 entries)
Our hearts are heavy with sadness upon hearing this news. Will always have special memories of times spent in Manitoba. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with all of you through this very difficult time. We love you all ❤️🙏🏻 - Posted by: Linda & Darwin Link (Cousin) on: Jun 01, 2023
I (Lauren Bell) have known Neil my entire life, as our families lived about a mile apart and were always good friends. (Little known fact….when I was in grade 1 and he was in grade 8 in our little one-room school, I had a huge crush on this handsome young man.) Although I only saw him periodically over the years, it was nice to re-connect with him as he returned to the Winther farm on a regular basis to do renovations over the last several years. He was so friendly, with that big smile always on his face. He’d wave as he passed by our house, stop to chat on the road, and offer help when I had a flat tire. He was always eager to have his family and friends at the “Good Life Club” and made everyone feel very welcome. Getting together seemed really important to him. We will certainly miss him in our little neck of the woods. Our very deepest sympathy to his family. Rest in peace Neil. - Posted by: Paul & Lauren Godin (Neighbour and friend) on: May 27, 2023
My deepest Condolences to you Andrea, and the rest of the family. I am sad to hear that your dad has passed away. I never met your Dad, as I live in Denmark, but his dad was Danish, and he was part of our big Winther family. I am so sad for you. RIP Neil. - Posted by: Gita Elimar (Relative from Denmark) on: May 27, 2023
Sending hu and healing thoughts to Neil's family. I had the pleasure of working with him and he was one of a kind. He will be greatly missed. - Posted by: Tanya Lowe (Co-worker from Arctic Glacier) on: May 26, 2023
Neil was a wonderful and rare human to get to meet in this lifetime. I am so grateful to have had the connection with him both through artistic projects and friendship shared with his club meet ups. We first met in 2006 through Arctic Glacier becoming a sponsor that had me paint art for the bears on broadway project. Some years later we met again and enjoyed some lunch get togethers meeting family and friends and to dream up Art tributes that would be created for the family (located at the entrance of the farm). He was so passionate about how proud he was of all of his friends and family. I’ll always cherish his support and great stories. Mostly his warmth and kindness was without doubt Neil’s greatest virtue and an example of life’s true beauty. My sincere condolences, Mandy - Posted by: Mandy van Leeuwen (Friend ) on: May 25, 2023
Rest in Peace Neil. We never met, but you are very much loved by everyone in the Winther / Vinther family, and others. Much love to your family from Connor. - Posted by: Connor Vinther-Brun (Cousin) on: May 25, 2023
My heart goes out to Neil's family and friends. We were a pretty tight group of friends who survived high school together. Unfortunately over the years our paths in life grew apart and Neil and I lost touch with each other. I have many fond memories of our time we shared at Ste. Anne high school and still chuckle when I think of the laughs we shared and the antics we pulled off. It sounds like Neil gave a lot more of himself than he wanted back. In my mind that's the way to live. - Posted by: Orval Levie (Friend) on: May 25, 2023
So sorry to hear of Neil’s passing. We were neighbours of Wendy and Neil on Oberlin Road. I remember the time he brought Max the gorgeous German Shepard home to protect his family. He was always a gentleman and very gracious. He loved his girls Stephanie and Andrea. We became condo neighbours later in life and then received many updates about grandchildren and his girls. Always saw him with a smile on his face motorcycling with his best friend Karel. Mary & John Godard - Posted by: Mary Godard (Friend & neighbours ) on: May 25, 2023
My condolences to the Winther Family. So sorry. My parents had the general store in Ostenfeld from 1947 to 1986, so we watched Neil grow up. He was very quiet whenever they came to store. I was 10 years older and thought he was very cute! Remembering all the Winther Family - and the good times we all had. Rest in peace Neil. Doreen (Duke) Rogers - Posted by: Doreen (Duke) Rogers (Friend) on: May 25, 2023
My condolences for Neil's Family. I pray you find peace in this time of mourning. I have enjoyed many meetings with Neil in the last few years. A wonderful man to talk to with so much wisdom to share. I miss him already.... - Posted by: Pete Krahn (Airport meetings and Hangar plans) on: May 25, 2023
My deepest sympathy to Neil's family. My prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends. Neil and I rode the same school bus when we went to school in Ste Anne. Neil was always friendly and always had a smile and a good morning to everyone when he got on the bus. He was such a nice person. - Posted by: Simone Richards(Gayet) (Ste Anne High School friend) on: May 25, 2023
Healing thoughts and hugs to our cousin’s family. The welcome Don and I got at the Good Life Club was a highlight and a forever memory for us .thank you!!!. Lorraine (Don) Hughes, Ken and Sharon Brown, Verna and Bill Nisbett and families. - Posted by: Lorraine Hughes (Cousin) on: May 25, 2023
My condolences to all of Neil’s family. My thoughts and prayers are with you on your loss. - Posted by: Maureen Mozel (Colbert) (Friend) on: May 25, 2023
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