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David Phillips Winters

November 28, 1944 ~ July 12, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old
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In loving memory of our dear brother, Dave Winters, we celebrate a life filled with daring adventures, endearing quirks, and unwavering resilience.

Dave was born in Pittsburgh, PA, during WWII, and he spent his formative years in California. He was the son of Fred Winters and Sybil York and the stepson of Herb York. Growing up, he bounced back and forth between his two families, and had a loving bond with his four siblings - Greg & Carolynn Winters and Rachel & Cynthia York.

As a boy, Herb arranged for Dave to operate a room-sized nuclear reactor, something Dave loved to drop casually into conversation. He met Eisenhower on a tarmac, and the Kennedys, Johnsons, and Earl Warren at the White House in January 1961.

Dave graduated from La Jolla High School and dabbled in higher education at UCSD and UCD, but it was the sixties, and his heart was always in motorcycle repair, riding with his pals and just plain shooting the breeze. In Davis and at Mother’s Motors and TT Motors in Berkeley, Dave formed friendships with John Gallivan, Ken Gee, Bill “Critter” Overstreet, Dodie, Mario, Lieberman, Jay Mumma, and many more. A special shout-out goes to his friend, Jim Carton, whose companionship in later life meant a lot to him. Dave and his buds had a glorious tradition called Spring Run, riding their bikes down to Santa Cruz – somewhere I have a black and white photo of Dave posing in the woods wearing only a top hat. It was the 1960’s to the max!

Life took a dramatic turn for Dave in 1971 when he was in a very serious motorcycle accident near Santa Barbara. His friends used to come down to La Jolla and play kids’ card games with him as he learned how to manage life anew. Remarkably, Dave did pretty well for several decades following the accident.

Once he had recuperated, he continued to have adventures, including riding his Norton across Africa in the late 70’s, and then all the way up to London to see Rachel & husband John. In London, typical of Dave, he replaced a section of our rain gutter with Big Mac boxes so he could use the half-pipe as knee guards on his motorcycle. Thanks, Dave! He also flew round-trip to Moscow in the belly of a cargo plane on some mysterious mission. True to form, he made his home for many years in an old pool hall right on International Boulevard, where he became a well-known fixture on his daily walks.

Dave’s take on life was truly his own. Except during his recuperation, Dave never wavered in questioning authority and parsing norms that other people took for granted.

One singular trait was this: Determined to avoid any awkward pauses, he kept a handwritten list in his wallet of interesting group names for nouns, and the eccentric names of churches on his street. Thanks to Dave, we now know that crows come in murders, owls come in parliaments and zebras in dazzles. He would whip out the well-worn list at a moment’s notice, skillfully sidestepping the tiniest lapse in conversation. He was never ever at a loss for something to talk about.

Around 2012, Dave’s brain injury re-emerged. He began to need help, and his family hired local social workers in San Leandro. Eventually Rachel and Cyn helped him move to a senior care home in Santa Rosa. Though the home may have had a resemblance to the Addams Family, the fellow “inmates,” as Dave called them, were mostly similarly amiable and foggy. Cyn and daughter Marian lived nearby, and he had plenty of family breaks. In 2021, Dave had to move into a nursing home. There, he amused himself regaling his co-patients with lectures on

motorcycle oil, Wyatt Earp, the lonely fate of old traffic signals, the rationale of the U-turn law, and so much more. His fellow inmates punctuated his stories with yelps of “Yep!” and lots of well-timed toots.

Life presented Dave with its share of challenges, including the traumatic brain injury and his experimentation with drugs. Yet, he faced each obstacle with philosophical grace. Despite these difficulties, his spirit remained undaunted, and he managed to find joy in life’s simple pleasures. Half a bubble off, but no doubt he lived life on his own terms.

Special thanks - To Greg and Carolynn for making sure Dave had health insurance and a roof over his head in Santa Rosa. To the Huntsinger-Starrs for welcoming Dave to Thanksgivings at their home in El Cerrito, and especially to Lynn for accompanying me on countless drives from the Bay Area up to see Dave, including the last emergency dash in July. My daughter Qing too, who came up with me at least twice, and brought a lot of joy, along with peanut butter, to Dave. And to Tom and Nancy Frederick for their love, support, and accommodation in Sebastopol on my trips up.

Rest in peace, dear Dave.

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