Mary Winch dies at 96
Trustee emerita Mary Tobin Winch, who served Reed wholeheartedly for decades, died November 9 at age 96. The college recognized her extraordinary dedication to Reed in 1993 by conferring upon her an honorary degree; the citation noted that “Mary Winch is in a class by herself in terms of her service to Reed College, her role in the life of the college, her informed championship of the values of a Reed education, and her fierce loyalty to Reed College’s mission.”
Winch was born July 10, 1907, in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. She graduated with honors from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, with a B.A. and later took courses at Portland State University. She was working in the promotions department at the Oregon Journal when she met Simeon Reed Winch, the newspaper’s business manager and vice president. Simeon Winch was the great-nephew of Amanda Reed, co-founder of Reed College. When they married in 1943, Mary Winch began her long association with the college. They had one son, Martin, and two daughters from his earlier marriage: Nella Winch McElroy ’40, who died in 1998, and Emily Baines, who died in 2001. Simeon Reed died in 1947.
Winch was elected to the Reed board of trustees in 1978 and named trustee emerita in 1992. She was an indefatigable fundraiser for the college and enjoyed bringing many Portlanders into the Reed community; she chaired the special gifts committee for the 1983-88 campaign for Reed. A longtime donor, she supported many of the college’s campaigns and programs and established the Simeon Reed Winch Memorial Scholarship in 1986. Winch was a lifetime member of the Reed Griffin Society and member of the Amanda Reed Society, the Reed College Women’s Committee, and both the Art Associates and the Music Associates. She was an honorary member of the board of the Cooley Gallery Art Associates and the Friends of the Gallery.
The larger community benefited as well from Winch’s considerable energy and compassion. The many diverse organizations in which she served as board member, director, or president include the Portland State University Foundation, the Junior Symphony, the Oregon Committee for the Humanities, the Portland Youth Philharmonic, Metropolitan Family Services, the Nature Conservancy, the Oregon Historical Society, and the Oregon Independent College Foundation.
When Winch received her honorary degree from Reed, Paul Bragdon wrote: “Mary Winch has served as a comforter, confidant, and counselor to many, including numerous successive leaders of most of the cultural, artistic, educational, and social and public service organizations and institutions of Greater Portland. A dependable and unobtrusive friend and source of strength and support in time of illness, distress, or trouble, she is the best of companions, whether at home or in far-flung places.”
Winch is survived by son Martin Winch and his wife, Carolyn Lea Winch MALS ’95; eight grandchildren, including Paula Emilia Winch ’95; seven great-grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren.