Obituaries detail

David Vernal Winger
Oct 23,1943---Sep 07,2018

What should we learn from a life like our dad’s? In a world that celebrates ambition and wealth, he didn’t care about either. He was like a living Coca Cola.  His ambition was to share joy, mostly in the form of candy, jokes, and office gossip.


He knew that helping others in small ways every day is its own reward. If you needed someone to wear a funny hat or shave their head, Dave Winger was your guy.


He was always puzzled by people rushing around or “getting excited” as he would say. Maybe we could learn that taking it easy isn’t such a bad idea.


He would read the sports page and tell his son-in-law the MLB standings, even though they were already a day old.


Goodbye dear dad – jokester, candy man, canoeing enthusiast, expert bowler and roller skater, Vikings and Twins fan.




Born in an Icelandic settlement in Pembina County, North Dakota, he was surrounded by family his whole life, and told stories of his mom and aunts speaking Icelandic around the kids so they wouldn’t know what was being said. He loved traditional Scandinavian foods like lefse and vinaterta and avoided poultry, thanks to time spent working at his uncle’s hatchery.


The story goes that he met Dolly Grage at a dance, shortly after she arrived at the teacher’s college in Mayville, ND, where the Winger family lived. It was love at first sight. They married in 1968. In many ways they couldn’t have been more different, and maybe that’s its own lesson in love.


After Dolly got her degree they followed teaching jobs, moving to Iowa then back to North Dakota until they landed in Gwinner where they raised their two daughters for nearly 25 years. During that time he worked at the town lumber yard, grocery store, and school. He led many church youth group canoe trips to the Boundary Waters. Retirement in Fargo was cut short by Dolly’s cancer diagnosis and in 2004 they moved to Kansas City, MO, to be closer to their daughters.


In a plot twist worthy of its own sitcom, at age 60 Dave started working on the facilities team at VML, an ad agency in Kansas City, quickly becoming a beloved member of the bowling and softball teams. Dave is remembered by his many friends and colleagues as an uncommonly friendly, kind, and funny man who had memorized individual candy preferences. He also loved to hang around with his daughter Lindy’s friends and be part of their adventures.


He leaves behind two daughters and a son-in-law: Amy Winger (Josh Sitzer) and Lindy Winger, all of Kansas City, MO. His grandchildren Eli Sitzer and Zoe Sitzer, who were the lucky recipients of far more of grandpa’s ice cream stash than anyone will ever know. His brothers and sisters celebrate his spirit: Joy Winger, Gary (Jacquie) Winger, Paul (Julie) Winger, all of Mayville, ND; Kathy (Darol) Lachapelle, of Ada, Minnesota, and Fran (Winger) Gordon, of Kent, Washington. He was preceded by his parents Josephine (Walter) and Bernard Winger, his sister Bernice Winger Bachmeier, and his brother Stephen Winger.


And somehow he made it almost 12 years without the love of his life and partner in crime, Dolly Winger, who played her last note in February 2007. Dolly and Dave would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August 2018.


The family would like to thank the beautiful people at the University of Kansas Health System: Dr. Melissa Mills, Dr. Rajesh Pahwa and Nurse Kim, social worker Katie Wyskoczka, and countless other doctors and nurses for their expertise and care. His favorite story for the nurses was, “When I lived in North Dakota I wasn’t sick a day in my life. Then I move to Kansas City and all I do is go to the doctor.”


Though his stay at Seasons Memory Care was brief it was full of grace. Thank you to everyone at One Community Hospice.


In the ultimate act of giving, his brain has been donated to the brain bank the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, where neuroscientists seek to understand the underlying causes of pernicious neurodegenerative disorders like Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. It is our hope that even in death he will continue to help others.


Marsha Murphy Sep 11 ,2018

Former North Sargent Employee/Friend ,Gwinner ,North Dakota

WOW!!!! What a GREAT Obituary, easily drawing an accurate picture of Dave, and of course Dolly, whom I'll treasure Forever:) You have been Blessed wth Wonderful parents, inlaws and grandparents. Hugs and Prayers!!!

Kristen Boulware Sep 11 ,2018

CoWorker/Friend ,Denver ,Colorado

I couldn't love a message more. Amy your words were perfection. Dave was a legend and leaves a legacy. He touched SO many people and I know that we're all smiling when we think of Dave Winger. If I could say one thing to him, I would say - "I thought I was the only one who got special candy treats! Ha! This is just how you want it, isn't it?!" Dave you were a special, special man with a heart of gold and a story for all occasions. You made an impression on me and a mark on my heart. Blessings to your family! kb

Shirley (Ponzer) Ayers Sep 11 ,2018

Mom to Lindy's classmate & Friend ,Wyndmere (formally Gwinner) ,North Dakota

Deepest sympathy Lindy, Amy & family. You are all in our thoughts & prayers. Your Dad was a very thoughtful, caring, friendly guy. Love to you guys. Sincerely, Shirley, John, & Garrett Ben & Holly & family

Dennis E Pruitt Sep 11 ,2018

Amy, so sorry to hear about your dad. Dave was truly a funny and very bright light to all who knew and worked with him. It's a shame he's gone, but now he's making the Good Lord laugh, I'm sure.

Sarah Sep 12 ,2018

friend ,Kansas City ,Missouri

Rob and I are so sorry for your loss. We know he had a huge impact at VML. It truly was an honor knowing him and I definitely feel like I missed out on not getting to see him more. He was so excited about his apartment when we came over to see him. We did fireball shots in his kitchen and had a great time. We would give him rides back home from Sunfresh when we saw him. He insisted on buying me a drink and knowing what kind of candy I liked the first time I met him and I do remember him saying he never got sick until he moved to KC. I never knew either of my grandfathers, but if I did, I would have wanted them to be like Dave Winger. He was definitely one of the kindest people I've ever met. He will be missed.

Les Ashe Sep 12 ,2018

Friend of the Family ,Fargo ,North Dakota

Rest in Peace David and thank you for your service. My most sincere condolences to Gary, Jacquie and the family and friends of David.

Bob Noel Sep 12 ,2018

Former co worker ,Moorhead ,Minnesota

My sympathies go out to your family. I enjoyed working with your dad at Oak Grove. He was a good man. God bless your family.

Karen Groth Sep 13 ,2018

Friend ,Mayville ,North Dakota

So sorry for you loss. God bless you both.

Annie schmader Sep 17 ,2018

Friend and co-worker ,Kansas city ,Missouri

There will never be another like him. I’m so glad we got to be partners in crime for my short stay at VML. He was the first person I said hello to every day, I missed him so much when he left. I can only imagine how you will miss him more. Have so much fun up there Dave, we know you’ll be the life of the party.