Henry Winchester ’51: A Prank of Shear Genius

Long live The Game — the annual Michigan and Ohio State rivalry. Brother Henry Winchester ’51 remembers this tradition well, especially the morning when he and his brothers awoke to find a sheep on the front lawn of 1705 Hill St. It was a “gift” received as a result of a bet over the outcome of The Game. Does anyone know what happened to that sheep?

Henry shared a room in the house with Don Flowers ’51 and Don’s dog, Delta. They were members of a class that was instrumental in re-establishing Delta Chi at Michigan. As Henry recalls those days, he is most proud of the fact that “you could share things with each other.” This dynamic created enduring friendships, including the one he had with Brother John Grayson ’51. Henry was John’s best man at his wedding, and they continue to exchange Christmas cards.

After completing a degree in aeronautical engineering, Henry went on to complete what would be one of his greatest successes: a 40-year engineering career with Douglas Aircraft Co. and McDonnell Douglas, which meant several moves across California including to Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Rolling Hills Estates, Cerritos, Cathedral City and, presently, Palm Desert. During the last 10-15 years of his career, he worked on inflight refueling systems, including wing-mounted refueling pods for the Navy and refueling booms for the Air Force.

Henry was married to wife Lois Doolittle Winchester for 58 years. Lois was a nurse and passed away in 2011. Their marriage produced four daughters, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. One daughter and her husband, former missionaries to the Ivory Coast, are now local. Henry’s son-in-law serves as the senior pastor of a church. Two of Henry’s daughters reside in Phoenix, Ariz., and one in Anaheim.

While in retirement, Henry and his wife took a mission trip to Ecuador where they assisted in the clean-up and restoration of a mission hall. He took a second mission trip to Mali where he was involved in the building of a church. In addition to some occasional stamp collecting, Henry plays bridge once a week with fellow residents of his senior residential home.

From his early days of cherished brotherhood at Delta Chi to these more recent years of retirement and reflection, Henry has these parting words for his younger brothers: “Allow God to lead the things you do.”

Brothers can send their stories to us at [email protected], or leave their comments in the box below.