Obituary

Obituary

William (Bill) Cantkiya Winn
December 1947 - February 6, 2019

Bill was born in Missouri to Marilyn and Vernon Winn. He grew up near family in Des Moines, Iowa, attending Catholic Schools there. He attended Loyola University in Chicago, graduating 1971. While there he gained notoriety speaking throughout the country, as a college student activist opposing the Vietnam War.

Bill’s activity against the War began as the spokesman for a Loyola University Student organization. It was highly political with the motto “War is Wrong” and objecting to the Military Industrial Complex. Upon graduation from the University Bill received draft notice for military service; and he applied for Conscientious Objector status. To fulfill his Social Service Obligation as a C.O. he was assigned to work as a volunteer for the Youth Service Bureau in Boulder, CO.

Soon after arriving in Boulder Bill attended a training session, for local high school students. He noticed a beautiful female student and immediately fell in love with Margaret Elizabeth Shepard (Marnie). He first thought she was a university student but in fact she was the fifteen years old daughter of the Director of the Youth Service Bureau, Melba Shepard. The love at first sight was mutual. Bill and Marnie were married on October 13, 1973.

Bill was employed by the Boulder County Mental Health Center for five years before they moved to California where he headed a drop in center for troubled youth. Marnie worked and continued her education at the University of California in San Diego. A son, Jeremy Paul, was born in 1977 after which the family moved to Missoula, Montana. Bill directed a Counseling Program on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and Marnie graduated from the University of Montana with a Degree in Elementary Education. A second son, Benjamin Shepard, was born in 1983.

An opening for teachers in a private elementary school was found in Santa Fe and the family moved there in 1988. Bill accepted a position, teaching grade six. Marnie started a preschool in their home in La Cienega. After two years, upon the request of parents of students in the school, Bill started a middle school in their home where both taught classes. They carried out an annual spring trip with students camping and studying Marine Biology in Baha, Mexico.

With a goal to create a business where neither had to work outside the home. Marnie began exploring the creation of projects that they might sell. She created and sold a few soft sculpture hand puppets. They also created a collection of greeting cards for sale. Marnie did the design and calligraphy, Bill wrote the greetings. The puppets appeared to fulfill their goal and they moved to family property in the wilds of Montana.

The business selling puppets on line at puppets@puppetartists.com and at Art Shows around the country became successful. Marnie was the artist creating the bodies. Bill sewed puppet costumes and handled the business. During the winter months they enjoyed camping in state parks and attending art shows in the southern states. Fitness was important to the couple and it was a pleasure with miles of hiking, bicycling, swimming and weight lifting. Music continued to be a focus with Bill writing the lyrics to love songs for Marnie.

Bill and Marnie took great joy in the care for and play with their grandchildren, Alexander, Grace and Gavin Winn and Krystina Cummins, who live in Missoula with their parents, Ben and Nellie. They also enjoyed occasional visits with Jeremy and his wife, Becky, as well as Marnie’s sister, Jane, brother Kenton and mother, Melba.

They loved the rugged life they led until Marnie was taken by breast cancer in August 2016. Bill followed with aggressive metastatic cancer in February 2019. During the time after Marnie’s death, Bill wrote a book about healing after the physical death of a loved one. It focused on their relationship offering examples of their life together. The book is titled Forever Connected and is a fitting follow-up to his previous book The Path to Forever Together written in 1996.