Rev. Dr Roger E. Winger, former LCC East District President, Guest Instructor at CLTS, and father of President Dr Thomas Winger, was received into his eternal rest on Thursday, 29 April 2021.
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,’” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours” (Rev. 14:13).
Winger, Rev. Dr. Roger Elson
(25 December 1933 – 29 April 2021)
Roger Elson Winger was born on Christmas Day, 1933, on his grandfather’s farm near Fisherville, Ontario, the first child of Elson and Bertha (Schweyer) Winger. He was baptised (28 Jan. 1934) and confirmed (14 Apr. 1946) at Trinity Lutheran Church, Fisherville. His confirmation verse set his life’s theme: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).
He grew up in the farmlands of Haldimand County and the town of Cayuga on the banks of the Grand River. He left home at the age of 15 to study for the holy ministry, entering grade twelve at Concordia High School, Ft. Wayne, as a residential student. He proceeded to the Ft. Wayne Junior College (AA 1953) and then to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, from which he earned a BA (1955), graduated with a Diploma of Theology (1958), and was assigned to serve in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (ELCE). The day after graduation—like so many St. Louis students in those days, who were required to be single while in seminary but expected to be wed by the time they hit the parish—he was married to Della Bertha Lebien (7 Jun. 1958). After his ordination in Fisherville (27 Jul. 1958), the pair bade farewell to their North American homes and sailed for England across the cold north Atlantic on RMS Queen Elizabeth.
A pastor in the ELCE for 14 years, Roger served Holy Trinity, Tottenham (1958-64), began and served a new mission in Coventry (1964-69), and also served Immanuel, Liverpool (1969-72). He served on the ELCE’s Church Extension Fund committee and on the Board of Directors of Concordia Publishing House, London, and worked (with Della) to found the Lutheran Women’s League of Great Britain. The Lord gave him and Della five British-born children in those years.
Returning to Canada in 1972, he served as pastor of Faith, Dunnville, and St. Matthew’s, Smithville (1972-78), in the SELC District of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), after which he re-joined the Ontario District by becoming pastor of St. Paul’s, Kitchener (1978-91).
During his 13 years at St. Paul’s he served the Canadian districts of the LCMS and eventually the new-born Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) in a number of offices, including: editor of the Ontario District supplement to the Lutheran Witness, First Vice-President of the Ontario District, Secretary of LCC, and a member of the Board of Regents of Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton.
In 1991 Roger was elected to the office of District President in the East District of LCC. He was re-elected twice, and served for those nine years also as a member (and at times, chairman) of the Board of Regents of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines. In 2000 he retired from the office of District President, but not from the pastoral office. He offered an immense amount of time and energy to St. Paul’s, Kitchener, as emeritus pastor, and also to Holy Cross, Kitchener, whose shut-in members were his particular care and concern. From 2001 to 2020 he was a regular guest instructor at the St. Catharines seminary, lending his great experience to the course on Pastoral Ministry and Practice. He also served on the Boards of Directors of Lutherwood and Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada.
He was honoured by Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton, with the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa (1991), by Concordia College, Ann Arbor, with the Christus Primus award (2000), by Concordia University College, Edmonton, with the Christo et Ecclesiae award (2003), and by Concordia, St. Catharines, with the Delta Chi medal (2013).
In addition to his lifelong devotion to church service, Roger was keenly interested in watching sports, playing golf, curling, classical music (particularly Bach), woodworking, photography, and travel. He took great pride and enjoyment from his family, thankful for the time he was able to be with them in retirement. He was very active physically and full of energy until a brain tumour began to take away his mobility in early 2020. He ended his life as it started, near the banks of the Grand River, at Hospice Waterloo on 29 April 2021, aged 87 years, in the firm confidence that his sins were forgiven in Christ, that his soul would rest in God’s hands, and that he would rise bodily on the Last Day.
Roger was predeceased by Della, his dear wife of 53 years, who was called into glory in 2011, as well as by his sister Grace (and Glen) Arnold, and his brother Wray (and Shirley) Winger. He is survived by his sister Carolyn (Jim) Shears; children Jeffrey (Yvonne) Winger, Karen (Ron) Mohr, David (Wendy) Winger, Thomas (Sara) Winger, and Susan (Les) Buckley; grandchildren Sean (Ashley) Winger, Kristin (Tim) Schneider, Eric (Melissa) Mohr, Katy (Devin) Karlsen, Brian (Natasha) Winger, Anne and Benjamin Winger, Erin and Kathleen Buckley, Cheryl (Roy) Lorbetski, and Diane (Ian) Hodge; great grandchildren Emma, Lydia, Luke, Theo, Oliver, Freya, Lochlynn, Floyd, Haylee, Isabelle, Jaxx, Brandon, Hannah, and Ethan.
Visitation will take place on Thursday, May 6, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Henry Walser Funeral Home, 507 Frederick St., Kitchener, 519-749-8467. Guests must RSVP to attend the visitation through the funeral home’s web site:
Masks are mandatory.
The funeral service will be limited to the immediate family and will be held at Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Kitchener, Ontario, on Friday, May 7, 2021, at 12:00 p.m., with interment to follow at Williamsburg Cemetery.
The funeral service will be available on Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church YouTube Channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiig868iWbhlv3f69crlGrA/featured
Memorial donations may be made to Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada, or Hospice Waterloo.