January 15, 2010 11:45:00 AM
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE -- As Ingrid Minor sat in her kitchen Thursday morning and flipped through a photo album with pictures of her late husband, Winston, a warm, yet somber, smile spread across her face. She had come across a photo of Winston from 1964, the year after the couple met, when Ingrid was a young German woman living near Munich and Winston was stationed in country with the U.S. Army.
"He was so skinny," Ingrid said of her late husband who, at 79, died Sunday as a result of injuries he sustained in an early December auto accident. "He was always so skinny."
Looking at the photo, Ingrid is taken back to the day she met Winston, the Alabama native she went on to marry.
Ingrid was working in a dentist''s office in 1964 when, one day, Winston walked in for an appointment. He wasn''t a fan of going to the dentist, Ingrid said with a laugh.
"He was so afraid when we went to fix his teeth that he was sweating from here to here," Ingrid said and pointed to her head, then to the small of her back. "I felt so sorry for him. It just broke my heart. The man was sweating so bad. We tried to comfort him, but he looked like he was going to die in that chair."
After Winston got his teeth "fixed," he came back to the dentist''s office and asked Ingrid out on a date, she said. The couple hit it off, but faced a challenge in Ingrid''s parents, who preferred she date German men.
The couple kept their relationship a secret from Ingrid''s parents for about a year before Winston showed up at Ingrid''s parents'' house in a Cadillac on Christmas Day.
"I told him not to show up and here he came, he found out where my parents lived, and he came in that Cadillac," Ingrid said. "My mother didn''t know what to think."
"He always drove the newest cars," Ingrid added.
Eventually, Ingrid''s parents embraced Winston, the couple married and spent 10 years together in Germany. While there, Ingrid gave birth to the couple''s three daughters: Antonette, Eva and Sylvia.
The family eventually moved back to Alabama to be closer to Winston''s family, Ingrid said.
Winston and Ingrid moved to Starkville in the 1970s when Winston, who was a cook in the Army, got a job at a bakery on Highway 12. He eventually went to work in the bakery at Mississippi State University. Ingrid, meanwhile, worked as a nutritionist at Rolling Hills Developmental Center and North Mississippi Medical Center.
Fixing food was one of Winston''s passions, said Sylvia, who has since married and lives in San Antonio, as Sylvia Oualline. Whether it was delicious breakfasts, succulent steaks or tasty desserts, it was always a treat to eat Winston''s food, Sylvia said.
"He could take a frozen steak, throw it on the grill and it would melt in your mouth," Sylvia said.
Winston had worked as a newspaper delivery boy while growing up in Birmingham, Ala. and, after retiring from MSU, began delivering newspapers for The Commercial Dispatch in 1982. He left in 1996 and went to work for Starkville Daily News before returning to The Dispatch in 2001.
Winston was an animal lover and had his German Shepherd, Abigail, with him in his 2003 Ford Explorer during the early morning hours of Dec. 6, when he was T-boned by a tractor-trailer at the Highway 182 and Highway 82 interchange. Winston was on his way to pick up papers for the day''s delivery at Clayton Village Mini Storage.
Abigail suffered minor injuries in the crash and is now being cared for by a trainer, Ingrid said. Winston was taken to Oktibbeha County Hospital, then airlifted to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. He eventually was transferred to Specialty Hospital in Jackson, where he died Sunday.
Winston''s family has struggled to deal with his death, but is doing as well as can be expected, Sylvia said. Ingrid still gets emotional talking about her husband of 46 years.
"He was my best friend," Ingrid said. "That''s why it hurts so much. When you''re married for 45 or 46 years, you turn into best friends."
"We shared everything," she said.