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Frances Lorenz Winkler, 93, La Plata

Frances Lorenz Winkler, 93, of La Plata died Jan. 9, 2013, following a brief illness.

Born July 10, 1919, in Baden, she was the daughter of the late Ralph M. and the late Mary Lorenz.

Her family moved to La Plata in 1923. She was the second of five children raised at “The Homeplace” and a lifelong member of Sacred Heart Church. She was one of the few remaining survivors of the deadly tornado that struck La Plata Elementary School in 1926 in which 13 children died. She was among the first students to attend Sacred Heart School, which opened in 1927. In 1937, she graduated from the Strayer Business School in Washington, D.C., and was employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in La Plata.

She married Bernard Reese Winkler in 1938 and assisted in running the family plumbing and heating business in La Plata, while raising their three children. In the early 1950s, she and her husband purchased interest in a second family-owned business, La Plata Mill and Rental. She worked alongside her son and grandsons as the bookkeeper for the business until 2006. She was prefect of the Sacred Heart Church Sodality for 12 years, and for many years hosted the PAC+P Rosary Group in her home. She was known for her volunteerism, meritorious public service and high spirit of community involvement. She received awards for service from the Charles County commissioners and the Charles County Business and Professional Women’s Club.

She served 15 years as an elected La Plata town councilwoman and 16 years on the La Plata beautification committee and town planning commission. She also served on the Maryland Municipal League. Her community service included volunteering at Physicians Memorial Hospital, now Civista Medical Center, with the Gray Ladies Red Cross and she was a member of the 2N1 Club at the Richard R. Clark Senior Center. She had a deep love for gardening and enjoyed a lifetime membership in the Charles County Garden Club and the La Plata Garden Club. She served as president of CCGC from 1969 to 1971 and served on the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland District II board of directors for 10 years. She was a landscape design consultant, an accredited flower show judge and a Charles County master gardener.

She is survived by her sister, Anna Lee Breitenbach; children, Bernard R. Winkler Jr., R. Wayne Winkler and his wife Paula and Mary Beth Chandler and her husband Kenneth; seven grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-granddaughter.

Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. until time of prayers at 5 p.m. Jan. 13 at Arehart-Echols Funeral Home, La Plata. Monsignor Oliver McGready will officiate at the Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Jan. 14 at Sacred Heart Church, La Plata. Burial will take place at the church cemetery.