Winkie, Wallace “Wink” Benjamin
Wallace “Wink” Benjamin Winkie, 95, of Belle Plaine, died Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Beverly; four children, Steven (Brigitte), Dusti, Wendi and Eric (Angela); six grandchildren, Kevin, Ian (Kathryn), Stefanie (Dustin), Claire, Anders and Elizabeth; six great-grandchildren, Nick, Izzy, Forrest, Sebastion, Leo and Roran; one brother, Ward (Vivian); and a sister-in-law, Marion.
Wink was born Oct. 5, 1917, to Clair and Ida on the family farm near Burt, Iowa. After high school graduation in 1935, he did farm work and odd jobs. He also purchased his first Harley Davidson at this time, starting a lifelong enthusiasm for motorcycles.
In 1941, he entered active duty with the Iowa National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division. He deployed overseas with the 34th in early 1942 as one of the first two U.S. Divisions to go to Europe at the onset of World War II. He fought in Africa and Italy, receiving three bronze stars before returning to the U.S. at war’s end in 1945.
Wink then attended Fort Dodge Community College and Iowa State Teacher’s College in Cedar Falls. This was followed by three years of teaching in Ionia, Iowa before moving to Belle Plaine to begin teaching in 1953. In Belle Plaine he taught social studies and history until his retirement in 1979. However, he was best known to two generations of Belle Plaine students as the school’s driving instructor.
In retirement Wink enjoyed spending time with family and friends, playing cards, and traveling. He also stayed busy with volunteer activities, working at the veterans hospital and helping to establish the Belle Plaine Museum and the Tribute to Veterans at the Belle Plaine City Hall.
His retirement was highlighted by the six years he lived in Germany while his wife worked as a Department of Defense teacher. Wink was a 60-year member of the Masonic Lodge and American Legion and a longtime member of the Lutheran Church.
Wink was preceded in death by his parents; younger brother, Sayre; and two nieces, Julie and Cathee.
Services will be at Belle Plaine’s First Lutheran Church on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. Visitation will be at the Hrabak Funeral Home on Friday, Jan. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m., and at the church one hour before the service on Saturday. A Masonic ceremony will take place after the visitation. He will be laid to rest at Oak Hill Cemetery in Belle Plaine, with military honors by Belle Plaine American Legion Post 39 and Iowa Honor Guard.
A memorial fund has been established.
Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.hrabakfuneralhome.com under ‘obituaries.’
Published Jan. 24, 2013 in The Gazette