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Marion Calvin Winger, more commonly known as Dad, Grandpa, and of course “Bud,” went to his “heavenly home” on October 1, 2022, surrounded by his loving family, just one week after his 92nd birthday. He was born September 23, 1930 on the family farm in Johnson, Kansas to Clarence Earl Winger and Bessie Helen Raney Winger.
Growing up in Johnson he was active in 4-H and the Methodist Youth Fellowship, along with farming with his father and brother - as Kansas was a booming wheat and corn farming community. As a 5’4” athlete he found success in sports - mastering the two-hand set shot in basketball, serving as catcher on the baseball team, and donning a leather helmet to run the ball as a tailback on the football team. He dedicated himself to excellence on the athletic fields and spoke fondly of his teammates, coaches and the successes they enjoyed. (Later as a father he would remind his children that when he was in a sports season, he avoided all sweets and soda as part of his training, wondering why they had just consumed that large piece of chocolate cake even though they were currently in season.)
As a young man Bud discovered a lifelong love for motorized modes of transportation. He rode a Harley motorcycle, drove a 1948 Mercury convertible, and while in college earned his pilot’s license and flew his own Cessna 140 airplane.
Bud went to Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas in the ROTC program to pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture. It was between his junior and senior years that he began dating Faye Ellen Trostle, also from Johnson, KS. They fell in love and married on December 22, 1953. This December they would have celebrated 69 years of marriage.
After graduating from K-State, Bud entered the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and was later promoted to 1st Lieutenant. After being selected to receive top secret security clearance, Bud was assigned to the Signal Corp, serving first at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, then later at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Bud dealt with high level defense communications including tracking President’s Eisenhower’s plane in the midst of the Korean War.
Bud and Faye Ellen welcomed their first child, Larry, to their family in 1955, while living in Arlington, Virginia.
After completing his military service, Bud and Faye Ellen rejoined his father, brother and brother-in-law in the Winger and Sons farming and ranching business, purchasing and managing a ranch in Flagler, Colorado. There they relocated and remodeled their first real home together and welcomed Peggy and Tony to their growing family. In Flagler, Bud quickly became involved in his community, serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee of the First Congregational Church, overseeing the construction of their new church building. In addition to providing for his family, Bud always viewed tithing to the church and related causes as one of the critical ways that he could serve God. Bud continued his involvement in sports, attending high school games and enjoyed playing town team basketball in the VFW Hall.
In January of 1963 Bud and Faye Ellen moved to Yuma, County, purchasing the former Bledsoe Ranch on the Arikaree River, 30 miles south of Yuma, Colorado. It was there that their fourth child, Steven, was born in 1965. And it is in this community that Bud and Faye Ellen have lived, worked, worshiped and invested for the past six decades.
As an agribusinessman, Bud was always open to new ideas and had a sense for sound risk taking. In addition to his commercial herd, Bud raised registered Herefords, exhibiting Hereford cattle in shows across the region, selling Hereford bulls and hosting the Colorado State Hereford Tour. Bud was also one of the first to interject cross-breeding in his cattle herd to increase productivity. In 2001, Bud received the Bill Seward Memorial Award from the Yuma County Cattlemen’s Association, honoring Bud as the Influential County Cattlemen of the Year. Bud also was one of the first in the area to install center pivot irrigation.
In the early 70s Bud purchased an additional ranch in Washington County, greatly expanding the size and scope of his operation. In addition, Bud was one of the group of investors to purchase Schramm Feedlot and continued as an owner and shareholder for approximately 40 years.
Family remained Bud’s top priority. When asked, he proudly proclaimed that the best days of his life were the days his children were born. And in his later years, Bud and Faye Ellen went to great lengths to attend their grandchildren’s birthday celebrations, basketball games, football games, volleyball games, swim meets, or whatever else they could attend. It is worth noting that Bud and Faye Ellen were season ticket holders for Yuma High School Basketball games for nearly 45 years.
Bud was a genius at building and fixing things. On the ranch, he transformed an old truck into a farmhand loader and old sprinkler towers into flatbed trailers and barn support beams. He also had a knack for designing and constructing buildings . . . from the Schramm Feedlot office building, to shops, calving barns and houses. For the kids and grandkids, he built go-karts, basketball goals, fireplace mantels, bed headboards, dining room tables, bookcases, and Barbie Doll carrying cases. A trip to Lafayette, Louisiana to visit Peggy resulted in building a skate ramp for Brandon that was epic in size and scale. Right up until his last days on earth, if something was broken or the mower wouldn’t start, a call to Dad or Grandpa was often step one in figuring out what was wrong and getting it fixed.
Music was a big part of Bud’s life. As a young man, he learned to play the saxophone and violin and soon discovered his gift for singing. His tenor voice had a depth and tone that immediately set it apart. When he married Faye Ellen, he not only married the love of his life, he married another talented musician and acquired his own personal lifelong accompanist, who knew exactly how to complement his voice and tempo. Singing became another tool for Bud to live and share his faith. It is impossible to estimate the number of times he sang for worship services, weddings, and funerals. Watching Bud sing his favorite hymns, one knew this was not just a song, but an expression of his own personal faith journey. And he loved to sing - sometimes just to sing, as much as for an audience. Riding with him in his pickup or hanging out at home, it was not uncommon for him to simply burst out in song. And our last unofficial recording of his most recent favorite, “Each Step I Take,” was recorded from his hospital bed just over 1 week ago.
Bud believed in God, family, farming and ranching, and country. He was good at virtually everything he did and believed in doing his best at whatever he was doing. In recent days as we have celebrated his life, he has been described as an accomplished yet humble man who was a friend, partner, mentor, and supporter. He was one of those “rare characters who truly lived his convictions” and a “bastion of strength” in the community.
Bud was preceded in death by his sister Evelyn, brother-in-law R.D. and grandson Brandon. He is survived by his wife Faye Ellen, his children Larry (Tammy), Peggy (Steve), Tony (Judy), and Steve (Joni); grandchildren Keane (Sandra), Angel (Kyle), Alyssa (Chase), Deirdre (Chad), Brett, Aipei, Kelsey (Jared), and Jaden (Sherelle); great grandchildren Ciera and Cloe, Ryker, Barret, Kimber, and Remi, Eva and Owen, and Wyatt; brother Melvin (Mona); Carl Rice (who has been a part of our family for more than 5 decades), and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Visitation/ Viewing: Tuesday, October 4; Baucke Funeral Home
Service: Yuma First Church of the Nazarene, 505 E. Beatty, Wednesday, October 5, 10:30 am.
Internment: Immediately following the service
Officiating Minister: Pastor Dave Martelle
Memorial Contributions: Memorials may be made to the Yuma First Church of the Nazarene or The J.A.M. Foundation Center.