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Mr. Billy Ray Van Winkle

Obituary for Mr. Billy Ray Van Winkle

February 5, 1933 - February 27, 2016
Owenboro, Kentucky | Age 83


Billy Ray Van Winkle, 83, died February 27, 2016, at his home, surrounded by family and friends. He was born February 5, 1933, to the late Dewey, Sr., and Tillie Smith Van Winkle. He played football at Owensboro High School where he graduated in 1951. He was a Golden Gloves boxing champion. He attended Georgetown College on a football scholarship and then served in the U.S. Army from 1953-1955. He received a BS from Murray State, MA from Indiana University and Rank I from Western Kentucky University. He began his teaching career in 1959 as a teacher and coach at Foust Jr. High. He retired in 1993 after 34 years in education, including 20 years as principal of Owensboro High School, where he had also served as business department chair, football coach and assistant principal. He served as adjunct professor for Western Kentucky University 1993-1995 working with student teachers and interns. He was elected city commissioner in his first attempt at public office in 1996 and served 3 terms, including Mayor Pro-Tem, 1998-2000. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church.

Active in professional organizations throughout the state, he received many honors, including Kentucky Principal of the Year in 1987. He served as president of Owensboro Educational Association and was selected to attend Kentucky Education Leadership Institute. He was twice elected by his colleagues to the board of directors of the Kentucky Association of Secondary School Principals. He was active in the community and served on several boards, including Owensboro Daviess County Hospital, Family Y, Owensboro Rotary Club, Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club, Elizabeth Munday Center, Junior Achievement, and Bluegrass Fellowship. He was selected to the Hall of Achievement at Owensboro High School in 2002.

He enjoyed OHS football, golf, and was a former member of the Owensboro Country Club. He was a member of Panther Creek bluegrass band and had been actively involved in bluegrass music in the courtyard at Friday After Five and played with his group at local schools and churches as well as Elizabeth Munday Center, Botanical Gardens, and the Roosevelt House.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Mary Jo Van Winkle Burton; brothers, Dewey, Jr., Bob, Jim, Donald, Joe and Russell Van Winkle; sisters, Martha West, Helen Onstott and Betty Miller.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn Galloway Van Winkle; a son, Bill Van Winkle (Susan) of Owensboro; daughters, Karen Nichols (Brent) of Owensboro, and Kathy Margopoulos (Bruce) of Richmond, Virginia; step-daughter, Julie Smith (Bryan) of Owensboro, and step-son, Jon Hamilton (Jenny) of Louisville, Kentucky; one sister, Patty Fitzgerald of Elizabethtown, Kentucky; one brother, Philip Van Winkle, of Owensboro; seven grandchildren: Jack Henry Burton, Reed and Will Van Winkle, Sara (T.J.) Massey, Laura (Brad) Wright and Matthew and Chris Margopoulos; four step-grandchildren, Sydney and Wil Smith, Audrey Hamilton, Ben Nichols (Amy); one great-grandchild, Edie Massey; and one step-great-grandchild, Eli Nichols.

Special thanks to Drs. Bernard Buchanan, Dr. Albert Mercer, Dr. Artis Truett and their staffs for their care and support, and to Laurie Hicks and Stacy Hicks Beckhart for their care and comfort.

A memorial service, officiated by the Rev. Christine Coy-Fohr and the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Carroll, will be 1:00 p.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church. Visitation will be from 2:00 until 8:00 p.m. Thursday at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory. Burial in Rosehill Cemetery will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to The Owensboro Public Schools Foundation for the Owensboro High School Family Resource Center or First Presbyterian Church.



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Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory

900 Old Hartford Road
Owensboro, KY 42303
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