Al Winegardner passed away May 9, 2013, 11 days shy of his 90th birthday.
Al was born in Denver, Colo., on May 20, 1923, to Al and Ava Winegardner. He graduated from South High School, where he was named first team All City in football, baseball and basketball, earning him the nickname “All City Al.” He earned a law degree from the University of Colorado in 1949. Al was a hasher at the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority where he met Jayne Godbe and married her on Dec. 19, 1951.
Al’s job with an oil company brought them to Billings. They soon fell in love with their new city, building lifelong friendships. Rather than accepting a transfer back to Denver, Al took a job with First National Bank (later Northwest) so he and Jayne could settle and raise their family in Billings.
Al had a vision for his new community, seeing the bank as a corporate citizen. He served as president and CEO of Northwest Bank and worked hard to maintain the vitality of downtown Billings. He conceived the building that is now Wells Fargo, brought modern art to downtown and initiated the Symphony in the Park. Al served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, member of the board of Deaconess Hospital, president of the Montana Bankers Association, and was active with his church, the Salvation Army, the Billings Mustangs, and the Alberta Bair Theater. He was a patron of the arts and served as a trustee of the Yellowstone Art Museum and as a director of the Western States Arts Foundation.
Al was passionate about golf and was a member of both the Hilands Golf Club and Yellowstone Country Club. When he retired in 1985, he and Jayne spent many winters golfing in Green Valley, Ariz. He was also a football fan and avidly followed the Colorado Buffs and the Denver Broncos.
Al enjoyed spending time with his family, his friends and his shelties. He had a delightful sense of humor and no one was spared a ribbing here and there. His life changed after his wife, Jayne, died in 2008. He missed his “supervisor” very much. Recently that role has included Barbara Sample, daughter-in-law of Al’s best friend Joe Sample, to whom our family is extremely grateful.
Al is survived by three of his children: Jill, of Ely, England; Kurt (Melinda), of Bozeman; and Jon (Kathleen), of Boulder, Colo..; his grandchildren, Christopher (Ann’s son) and Sam and Eli (Jon and Kathleen); step-grandson, Jake (Briana) and great-grandson, Carter.
His parents, brother Bob, wife Jayne and daughter Ann preceded him in death.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m., Thursday, May 16, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on the corner of Second Avenue North and 33rd Street.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Yellowstone Art Museum, 401 N. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101, or the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, 1735 Monad Road, Billings, MT 59101.
Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.