Obituary: Theodor Winkel, 78, of Ludington

April 10, 2023

Ted Winkel

Obituary: Theodor Winkel, 78, of Ludington

Theodor E. (Ted) Winkel, 78, of Ludington passed away on April 7, 2023.

Ted was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on September 10, 1944, the only child of Theodore A. and Irene Winkel. He moved frequently during his childhood due to his father’s positions with the then-C&O car ferries. When the Spartan and Badger car ferries were launched in 1953, the family moved with them to Ludington.

Those childhood moves required him to make and remake friends on a frequent basis during which time he developed his outgoing personality. While open to others, he was also a very private and introspective man who enjoyed his solitary time, traveling, boating, fishing, reading both prose and poetry, and listening to a wide variety of music. Later in life, he became an instrument rated private pilot. After which, Judy and Ted purchased an aircraft and enjoyed countless cross-country trips together.

Ted graduated from Ludington High School and the University of Michigan where he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and was active in student government. He subsequently earned three postgraduate degrees.

He was an educator at Mason County Central High School for 36 years and while there, developed and taught courses in consumer economics, law, and psychology. Additionally, he was an adjunct instructor at West Shore Community College for 10 years. He was an educator who loved teaching and equally loved his students. He often said he couldn’t believe he was getting paid for something he so much enjoyed and felt truly blessed. The greatest reward of those years? The countless students who became life-long friends.

Ted believed in the importance of community service. He served on the boards of the Mason County Schools Employees Credit Union, Ludington Area Jaycees, Mason County Historical Society, and Pere Marquette Township Planning Commission.

Ted’s family occupied the central part of his life. His wife and best friend of 53 years, Judy (Jae) Korthals, who he married on June 28, 1969; daughters Erika Winkel of Ludington and Ellen Lawson of Bloomfield Hills; son Brad; daughter-in-law Alice; and grandchildren Kaden and Adelyn of Escondido, California were all closest to his heart.

He was preceded in death by his parents Ted and Irene Winkel, Dick and Lynn Korthals, and his beloved daughter Erika. He also is survived by sisters-in-law Sheryl Korthals of Traverse City, Patty Furness of Bradford, New Hampshire, and brother-in-law David Korthals of Seattle, Washington.

Ted was a spiritual person of deep faith who never wore it on his sleeve. He preferred to express it by example as opposed to words. If a single trait marked his life, it was his appreciation for his deep and long-lasting friendships. He always said they are “jewels in my life’s crown.” He was known by his friends and family to have a great off-beat sense of humor, so much so that when reports of his death came in the first week of April, some might have assumed it to be an April Fool’s joke.

A cancer survivor, he felt fortunate for every day following his diagnosis of a disease that could have easily taken him 10 years earlier in life. He forever appreciated the outpouring of support he received personally, medically, and in prayers from others during his recovery. 

Cremation has taken place. A celebration of life for Ted will be held on a future summer date, his favorite time of the year. Ted requested that any memorials be directed to Our Savior Lutheran Church, Lakeshore Animal Friends, or Mason County Mutts. 

Arrangements have been entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington, 

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