Bill and Mary Wintermeyer, 2007 Ambassadors for Crooked Creek Days
pictured with mules, Ritz and Graham (crackers) at their home at Fairview Farm.
By Cathy Lauderdale
When I pulled into the driveway at the Fairview Farm, owned by Bill and Mary (Rodruck) Wintermeyer, a sense of calm and relaxation came over me. The well-tailored grounds said, "Welcome, come on in and sit a spell." And, that's what I did.
I received a warm welcome from the Wintermeyers, being invited to sit at the table and visit. While I have known both Bill and Mary for many years, this was my first opportunity to visit their home and dig into their background.
The purpose for my trip to Fairview Farm was to interview Bill and Mary, who have been chosen to serve as 2007 Ambassadors for Crooked Creek Days to be held August 3rd, 4th and 5th in Winfield.
While Bill and Mary neither one grew up along Crooked Creek, they are lifetime residents of the Winfield area. Bill graduating from Winfield High School in 1937 and Mary in 1939. The following year, on September 7, 1940, they were married and lived in town until March 1, 1941 when they moved to the country, where they currently reside.
Mary recalled early days with Bill. "When I was 8 and he was 10, he came over to ride our pony. Mother had to lift Bill up and set him on the pony." Sixty-seven years later, they are still together, still taking care of one another.
In this day when 50% of the marriages end in divorce, they each give the other credit for their 67 years together. "She takes care of me," Bill commented, "and it should be the other way around. I've said a thousand times that it was 70/30 and she was the 70%. I don't know how she did it."
There is something special between Bill and Mary, and it shows when they talk about each other. "Mary milked up to 10 cows, then came in the house and had the kids to take care of," said Bill.
But Mary feels that everything has been 50/50 saying, "He (Bill) did his fair share then and is still doing what he can."
The Wintermeyers speak lovingly of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their children are Ronna (Charlie) Lorensen, Muscatine; Mardi Denny (Bob Webb), Masonville, CO; PJ Wintermeyer and (Alan Albert); Geneva, IL; Ed and (Kathy) Wintermeyer, Mt. Pleasant and Nancy and (Roger) Hill, Wayland.
Both Bill and Mary commented about how much they have especially enjoyed their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. "We thought our kids were special, but when the grandkids and great-grandkids came along, well, there's nothing that compares."
While Bill and Mary were kept busy with their children, they also were active in the Winfield Presbyterian Church where Mary taught Sunday School and Bill was an Elder.
One doesn't think about the Wintermeyers without the picture of a team of mules (mother is a horse, father is a jack, so I'm told). They have a covered wagon that they give rides in and have been involved in many parades, including past Crooked Creek Day parades. While son Ed now owns the mules, some are housed at Fairview Farm and Bill and Mary enjoy having them. Bill also commented that he and Ed went to the saw mill and purchased oak with which they together made their own show wagon.
Bill actually started his years of farming with horses and continued to cultivate for several years with his team. He then farmed with his neighbor's Farmall F30 before purchasing a new Ford Ferguson tractor for $625. Bill, now retired, leases the land and farrowing house.
Off the farm, Bill trucked 10 years for Harlan Courter and father-in-law Clark Rodruck, forked manure by hand onto a truck and hauled it to Conesville, worked at King Manufacturing/Bunker for 20 years where he welded livestock waterers, farrowing stalls and fire truck bodies, drove truck bodies to Darley Pump in Chicago to get pumps mounted and was a janitor at WACO Schools for 10 years where he enjoyed being around the young people.
Mary was also busy outside the farm as she worked as a telephone operator at Iowa-Illinois Telephone from 1939-1941 and began at a dime per hour; worked at the Winfield Veterinary Clinic with Dr. Don Westercamp and was Director of the Winfield Public Library for 34 years, where she enjoyed the patrons and helping students with school projects.
So as Crooked Creek Days 2007 draws near, we look forward to seeing the Wintermeyers 'front and center,' and who knows, their mode of transportation could be different.