Norman Winkler, 72, Columbia fine arts pioneer


Norman Winkler, one of the first residents of Columbia and the founder of the community's Candlelight Concert Society, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Howard County General Hospital. He was 72.

Mr. Winkler had heart bypass surgery in February 1997 and had been ill since then.

Known as "Stormin' Norman" for his sometimes-aggressive manner, he and his wife, Nancy, were among the first 50 families to move to Columbia in 1967.

After moving there, Mr. Winkler took on the responsibility of bringing art and culture to the new town.

"He didn't see any point in having a place in the suburbs where people drove into the city to enjoy the arts," said a daughter, Eveline Tapp of Ellicott City. "He thought it should be in Columbia."

Mr. Winkler raised money through contributions and grants and founded the Candlelight Concert Series, which presented chamber music. He brought in pianist Richard Goode, the American Chamber Players, the Mendelssohn String Quartet and other musicians.

According to concert series officials, many of the performers were starting their careers and went on to become featured attractions in chamber music.

"Norman insisted on bringing in the best musicians and worrying about how we'd pay for it later," said Philip Press, the first treasurer of Candlelight. "He was a Renaissance man who insisted on quality. He had a vision and compromise was not in his vocabulary."

The son of a mailman and a homemaker, Mr. Winkler was born in St. Louis. He learned early to appreciate music, playing the french horn as a youngster and attending concerts with his sisters.

He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in political science.

He served in the Army in Europe and the Pacific during World War II. After he was discharged, he lived in France and began his 30-year career as an Army civilian personnel specialist.

In France, he met his wife, the former Nancy Goldsborough, and they were married in 1954. She died in 1989.

A memorial service for Mr. Winkler is set for 10 a.m. next Friday at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center in Columbia.

He is also survived by daughters Ann Majewski of Charlottesville, Va., and Nancy Winkler of Narbeth, Pa.; a son, Norman Winkler Jr. of Columbia; a sister, Mrs. Richard Tinker of Delray Beach, Fla.; and seven grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Candlelight Concert Society.

Pub Date: 6/05/98

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