In Loving Memory

Billy Ray "Bill" Winkelmann

Billy Ray "Bill" Winkelmann
August 11, 1952
June 22, 2020
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Bill Winkelmann, age 67 of Brenham, received his angel wings on Monday, June 22, 2020. The family would like to thank Houston Methodist for their exceptional care throughout Bill’s battle with cancer.

Billy Ray Winkelmann was born August 11, 1952 in Brenham to Leroy and Elvera (Tiaden) Winkelmann. He was baptized September 14, 1952 and confirmed April 3, 1966 at Zion Lutheran Church of Zionsville.

In his early years, Bill assisted his mom at her beauty shop, his dad’s Marine Service Shop, his Grandpa Winkelmann’s farm, and his Grandpa Tiaden’s mill. He loved being outside hunting, Gulf Coast and salt water fishing in Port O’ Connor, and going on other outdoor adventures, especially being on the water.

Bill was a 1970 graduate of Brenham High School. He graduated from Commonwealth College of Science in 1972. He was a licensed funeral director and embalmer at Brenham Memorial Chapel. Bill served his country in the Army, Army Reserves, the National Guard, and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He was part of the Elks Lodge, JC, and CCA.

Bill married his best friend Karen Vesper on December 7, 1996. Together they raised a blended family with four kids and a multitude of pets. As a family, they loved camping, going on road trips, and cheering on their kids in all of their activities. Bill loved the latest and greatest gadgets and was sure to analyze and research to the fullest with every purchase he made.

Bill was employed by Blue Bell Creameries from 1976 until the spring of 2020. He saw the growth and technical advancements of Blue Bell. Bill was a “hands on and do what it takes to get the job done right” kind of guy. His position was the Warehouse and Distribution Coordinator.

Bill was active in Fire Department Services. He was a member of the Brenham Fire Department from June 13, 1979 – March 9, 2010. He served as secretary and treasurer from 1981-1986; District Chief from 1987-1992; Second Assistant Chief from 1993-1994; First Assistant Chief from 2005-2009; and was named “Firefighter of the Year” in 1985 and 2009. He was currently a member of Prairie Hill – Rocky Hill Volunteer Fire Department and served as Assistant Chief.

Later in life, Karen and Bill loved spending time at their Florida home, playing with their grandkids and watching them grow up, and keeping an on-the-go active lifestyle. Bill made sure to keep the freezer stocked with all of his family’s favorite Blue Bell flavors, and he made a habit to end each day with his own bowl of Homemade Vanilla. Bill was a loving, loyal, and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and brother. He was a caring friend to many and loved by all. He will be deeply missed.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents. Surviving family includes: wife Karen Winkelmann, children and their spouses, Shannon and Trey Meyer, Shane and Gabriel Correa, Mike Dudich, Katie and Kyle Yates; grandchildren, Rylie and Zoey Dudich, Kayegan Meyer, Henry, Adam, and Allie Correa, and Kalvin and Karter Yates; brothers and sister-in-law, Wayne and Susan Winkelmann, Alan and Danna Winkelmann; father-in-law and mother in-law Bill and Darla Vesper; brother-in-law Keith Vesper; extended family, Christy Vaccaro, Jamie, Christina, and Maxx Bodley.

Visitation will be held Thursday and Friday, June 25th and 26th from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Brenham Memorial Chapel.

Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, June 27th at 10:30 a.m. at The Brenham Fire Department Training Center. Due to COVID 19, masks are required and social distancing is essential. Pastors Ken Weiss and Jon Siemsglusz will officiate. Interment will follow in Prairie Lea Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Robert Estrada, Andy Anderson, Butch Lorenz, Alan Pittmann, Billie Norenberg, Ken Hall, David Stegent and D.E. Ervin. Firefighter pallbearers are Michael Draehn, Brian Scheffer, Ronald Bentke, Josh Sebastian, Brian Folsom, Andrew Jozwiak, Tank Nienstedt, and Brett Schroeder. Honorary pallbearers are the Brenham Fire Department, Prairie Hill – Rocky Hill Volunteer Fire Department, and past and present Blue Bell Creamery employees.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Brenham Volunteer Fire Department (funds will go toward educating the youth of Washington County about fire safety) and Prairie Hill – Rocky Hill Volunteer Fire Department (funds will go toward the installation of a helicopter landing pad for Life Flight).