- Pamplin Media
- Central Oregonian - Features
ter Winitzky was 82 when he died peacefully on the morning of Dec. 7, 2004, after a long struggle with cancer.
He was born April 9, 1922, in Goodrich, N.D., to Nathan and Otilia Winitzky. After high school, Walter attended the University of North Dakota and in 1942 was accepted as a student at the University of Oregon Dental School in Portland.
Walter is survived by his wife of 60 years, Elizabeth (Betty) Winitzky. They met and were married in 1944 while Walter was attending dental school. The young couple visited a number of small Oregon communities before settling on Prineville because of Walter's love of horses and the area's "western" charm. They moved to Prineville and Walter established his dental practice in the summer of 1946, becoming the community's second dentist.
In 1952, as a consequence of the Korean War, Walter began a two-year tour of duty as a captain in the United States Army, in charge of oral surgery services and based in Fairbanks, Alaska. During that time, he regularly flew to military outposts in the Arctic to provide dental services to Army personnel and the local Eskimo population.
Walter practiced dentistry in Prineville for 51 years until his retirement in 1997. He never ceased his dental education and acquisition of professional knowledge and skills. For nearly three decades he traveled monthly to Portland to attend University of Oregon continuing dental education courses both as a student and eventually as an instructor. In 1974, he was named one of four "General Dentists of the Year" by his peers of the Oregon Academy of General Dentistry "for his service to the profession and to his community, his ability as a dental practitioner and his contributions to and participation in continuing dental education." Walter was an instructor in dental study labs in Oregon, Washington and California and served his local dental society in many capacities. Walter was a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry and a Life Member of the American Dental Association.
He was also a talented pianist. While a young man, he formed a dance band called Walt and the Rhythmeers that played neighboring North Dakota towns. Over the years in Prineville, he has performed in a number of musical groups. In the late 1950s, Walter was instrumental in establishing the Community Concert Series that brought nationally recognized musical artists to Prineville for performances.
Walter was a member of the Founders Committee that sought contributions for the initial construction of the Pioneer Memorial Hospital in the 1950s. For a number of years, he served as a member of the Crooked River Roundup Association that organized Prineville's annual summer rodeo events. He was Grand Marshal of the rodeo parade in 1986. He served in several capacities with the local Boy Scouts of America while his sons were scouts. Walter was a founding board member of the Community First Bank, retiring from that board only recently in 2002. Walter was a long-time member of the Prineville Elks Club and a member of the local Masonic Lodge for more than 50 years.
Walter and Elizabeth have four sons and seven grandchildren: Warren and Julie and their children Devin and Haley of Bend, Dana and Donna and sons Adam and Travis of Eugene, David and Randee of Santa Barbara and son Ari of Honolulu, Steven and Nancy and daughter Jessie of Salt Lake City and their son Alex, who is currently living in Prague, Czech Republic. Walter's sister Esther Ames and her son Dan Ames of Pasadena spent time with Walter in his last few days.
A memorial service will be conducted at the Prineville Funeral Home chapel on Monday, Dec. 13, at 1 p.m.
The Winitzky family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Pioneer Memorial Hospital Hospice to further support the kind of loving care they have provided Walter and his family.