Arthur Winters, 97, of Yakima died Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, at Landmark Care Center in Yakima.
He was born Aug. 5, 1910, at his grandfather's homestead in Shattuck, Okla. He was the oldest of nine children born to John and Lydia (Wiebert) Winters, staunch German speaking parents. Arthur learned the English language in school. However, he gave up school in the eighth grade to help support his family. His parents were farmers and raised wheat and cattle. Eventually, the Winters family migrated to Wheatland, Wyo. to farm and work as farm laborers.
Arthur married Freida Seibel in Wheatland. She was also from a staunch German family. They worked for a farmer for $75 per month and a house. He also bought and sold horses for additional income. In 1935, the drought and depression forced Arthur and Freida with four children to leave Wyoming. They moved to New Era, Ore., where he was employed at a sawmill. However, his passion was farming and working outdoors.
The family moved to Yakima in 1938, and purchased three lots in a pear orchard on Prasch Avenue. They built a small house with $78 worth of lumber. Arthur and Freida worked in orchards, crop fields and hops to support their family. He was hired as an irrigator for $60 per month, which led to more opportunity in agriculture. While working as an irrigator he traded wages for dairy cows, leased land on the Yakama Reservation near White Swan and traded the Yakima property for a team of horses and hay for the winter feed. This launched the family into the business of farming. It was a family farm and produced sugar beets, potatoes, grains and a small herd of dairy cows. In 1943, Arthur and Freida purchased a farm on West Wapato Road. and expanded their farming program. On this farm they developed a Grade A dairy with purebred Guernsey cattle.
Arthur developed an outstanding Guernsey herd under the name of Winacres Dairy. He received the honor of Gold Star Guernsey Breeder by the American Guernsey Cattle Club. Offspring from this herd received regional and national recognition. He served in leadership positions with the Washington Guernsey Cattle Club, Yakima Dairymen's Association, Yakima Valley DHIA and Washington Dairymen's Federation. Arthur and Freida also encouraged and supported youth in school, church, 4-H and FFA programs. They were honored as Yakima County Dairy Family of the Year in 1957.
Arthur and Freida raised eight children; all were involved and had responsibilities with the dairy and family farm. Their desire was that all eight children have an education beyond high school. They were members of the White Swan Methodist Church and later members of the United Methodist Church in Sunnyside.
In 1977, the Winters retired from the dairy and purchased an orchard near Prosser. Arthur found the orchard less demanding than cows and farmed it until he was 80 years old. He retired in 1991. His wife, Freida died after 61 years of marriage. He enjoyed sharing time with his family, debating political issues, traveling and offering advice.
He is survived by three sons, Willard (Ethel) Winters of Selah, Thomas (Marilyn) Winters of Harrah and Kenneth Winters of Sunnyside; two daughters, Joyce (Del) Day of Yakima and Dorothea Nadine (Rod) Sauvage of Moses Lake; two sisters, Alice Morgan of Maryland and Helen Bruntz of Colorado; daughter-in-law, Susan Winters of Wapato; son-in-law, Hank Eisler of Leavenworth; 29 grandchildren and 53 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Freida; two sons, Arthur Jr. and John Winters; daughter, Icyle Zediker-Eisler; grandson, David Day; his parents; and six brothers.
Viewing and visitation will be held Friday, Nov. 9, 2007, from 1 until 5 p.m. at the Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007, at 10 a.m. at United Methodist Church, Sunnyside, with burial to follow at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens, Sunnyside. Memorials may be made to Yakima Chapter American Red Cross and Salvation Army. Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.