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Published: Tuesday, 9/20/2011

Rodney Winkle, 1957-2011: Cooper exec served community

BLADE STAFF

FINDLAY — Rodney Winkle, a 25-year employee of Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. who served on many community and advisory boards, died Saturday in the emergency room at Blanchard Valley Hospital. He was 54.

Mr. Winkle was taken to the hospital after an accident in which he lost control of his motorcycle on State Rt. 186 in Blanchard Township and struck a utility pole.

Family members said they were astonished to learn about the many accomplishments and accolades earned by Mr. Winkle after going through the files in his office at Cooper Tire and Rubber Co., where he was the director of organization development and education.

“My dad was such a humble person,” said Melissa Moore, one of Mr. Winkle’s two daughters. “My dad has never ceased to amaze me. He never wanted to talk about himself. It was always about helping others.”

He currently was on the boards of the Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, Virtual Technologies Group, Hancock Leadership, and an advisory board member for University of Findlay’s College of Business and was a volunteer for the United Way and Habitat for Humanity. He also had been involved in Liberty Benton Schools, including working on a fund-raiser to build a weight room and a campaign to pass a levy.

Mr. Winkle received a bachelor of science degree in education from Bowling Green State University in 1979 but decided against going into the classroom after student teaching, said his wife, Joan Winkle.

“He realized he wanted to work with people who are older than high school kids,” she said.

His first job was with Aro Corp. in Bryan, where he directed employee programs. Four years later he joined Master Chemical Corp. in Perrysburg, where he held a similar position for four years. Cooper Tire hired Mr Winkle in 1986.

Mr. Winkle continued his education at BGSU while he worked, picking up his master’s degree in education in 1984 and master’s of organization development in 1991.

“He loved going to college,” his wife said. “He would have become a professional student if he could have gotten away with it. Education was so similar to what he was doing on his job that it wasn’t difficult for him.”

A native of Leipsic in Putnan County, he graduated in 1975 from Leipsic High School. It was there he met his future wife, the former Joan Kreinbrink. They were both in the same grade but didn’t start dating until they were juniors. “When we were freshmen, I was taller than him,” Mrs. Winkle said.

They were married July 17, 1982.

Among Mr. Winkle’s other community work was serving on the board of the Domestic Violence Shelter and Open Arms Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services. Mrs. Winkle said it was his involvement in the domestic violence groups that helped him form a bond with Jonathan McKinney about 10 years ago. She said he became a father figure to the boy, who is now 17.

Surviving are his wife, Joan, daughters, Melissa Moore and Angela Winkle, mother, Joann Winkle, brothers, Randal and Steve Winkle, and sisters, Sandra Maas and Sue Steingass.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Michael the Archangel Church.

The family will receive friends from noon to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home.

The family request tributes to the American Cancer Society, Northwest Ohio Region Office.

— Mark Reiter



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