Memorable Manitobans: Valentine Winkler (1864-1920)
Born at Neustadt, Ontario on 18 March 1864, son of David and Barbara J. Winkler, brother of Enoch Winkler, he moved to Manitoba in 1879 and worked in his brother Enoch’s lumberyard. In 1883, he began a grain and lumber business in Morden. He began farming in 1888. Winkler served as the first Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Stanley, from 1890 to 1892. In the latter year, the village of Winkler, where he had a flourishing grain elevator and lumber operation, was named after him.
Fluent in German, he served in the Manitoba Legislature as a Liberal, being elected in 1892, 1896, 1899, 1900, 1903, 1907, 1910, 1914, and 1915. Winkler was Minister of Agriculture and Immigration in the government of Tobias C. Norris, introducing many legislative initiatives vital to farmers. A legislative plan to provide cows on credit to settlers in the Interlake region, known officially as the Settlers’ Animal Purchase Act, was always known as the “Winkler Cow Scheme.” He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 1900 federal general election, being narrowly defeated by Robert Lorne Richardson.
On 31 March 1886, he married Josephine Rombough (1863-1956), with whom he had six children: Manly David Winkler (1887-1888), Myrtle Grace Winkler (1888-1890), Howard Waldemar Winkler, Hazel Fern Winkler (1892-1920), Ruth Winnifred Winkler (1894-1953, wife of W. B. Hurd), and Josephine Winkler (1901-1990, wife of Frederick Augustus Henry Klein). He followed the Methodist faith.
Uncle of David Grant Potter.
He died of diabetes on 7 June 1920 while campaigning in the provincial election and was buried in the Morden Hillside Cemetery. He was inducated posthumously into Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame. His extensive papers are at the Archives of Manitoba.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
“Hon. Valentine dies suddenly in Morden hospital,” Manitoba Free Press, 8 June 1920, page 1.
“Mr. Winkler’s death,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 June 1920, page 13.
“Hazel Winkler dies,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 June 1920, page 1.
“Mrs. V. Winkler, Morden pioneer, dies in Georgia,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 August 1956, page 7.
A History of the Town of Winkler, Manitoba by Frank Brown, 1973.
Obituary [Josephine Winkler Klein], Winnipeg Free Press, 27 February 1990, page 45.
“Minister is dead after 2 days’ illness,” newspaper clipping dated 8 June 1920. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B7]
Page revised: 30 December 2020