Obituaries: Winston Springer

Obituaries: Winston Springer

VANCOUVER - Winston Springer was a very gregarious, fun-loving and strong-minded individual who died April 6, 2010, in Vancouver. He was born Aug. 22, 1918, in the basement of a church on 33rd and "L" streets in Vancouver. 

He was an entrepreneur his entire life. The depression hit the family hard and was the trigger for him to learn the value of a penny. As a child he developed a successful magazine route. At age 12 he purchased a vehicle that he had spotted while on his daily route. It was an old "C" cab chain-driven truck which was parked on a dock near a paper mill. As a skinny kid in bib overalls and worn-out shoes he mustered up the courage to ask if he could buy the old truck.  He had $5 saved, offered that and was the proud owner. With a little help from his dad he later resold the vehicle making a $10 profit. This transaction started his career in automobiles.

Mr. Springer joined the Civilian Conservation Corps when he was 18 and was located in the town of Hemlock. During his pre-war driving years, he was well-known by all the local policemen. On one teen adventure he ended up eluding officers in pursuit by driving his vehicle across the train trestle at the mouth of Salmon Creek.

He was drafted into the army just before WWII. He completed basic training in Florida, with a brief trip back to Vancouver when, after hearing someone else had eyes for her, he married Alice Ordway. Recently, all of his love letters written to his wife during the war were located and read by his family. There are no sweeter letters to anyone. In them the loving side of him, which was hidden at times, could be clearly seen. 

While stationed in the south he was urged to participate in a talent show. With reluctance he got on the stage, played 'Downtown Strutters Ball' on the piano and then left. He was later told that he was the hands-down winner of the show. He had a great talent for music and played and appreciated music all of his life. He was a medic on the front lines during the war. He landed on Utah beach at 7:30 a.m., on D-Day. He was later wounded in St. Lo France. It was published on the front page of the Columbian that he was missing in action, and then about his serious injuries. After his recovery he served out the war in the motor pool in France.

Upon returning from war he purchased his father's business, Vancouver Radiator. He expanded the business to include an auto body and paint shop. Later, he also added a small used car lot. He and Alice also successfully invested in, rented, and sold properties. He was somewhat of a local character and a great cross-section of individuals would stop by the shop just to visit and be entertained by his wit and sense of humor. 

After retirement he and his wife made their home on the Long Beach Peninsula where they spent 36 wonderful years in Nahcotta beachcombing and enjoying the area. They also traveled to Mexico and Arizona in the winter.

Six days prior to his death, on March 31, his wife of 67 years, Alice Ordway Springer, died. Survivors include their three children: Katherine (William) Bishop, Barbara (Jim) Hansen and Paul (Crystal) Springer; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He will be greatly missed by all of his family, friends and acquaintances. Family members will have a celebration of life at a later date.

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