Robert A. Winchell

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From the Virginia Tech memorial service on April 27, 1992:

Robert Allen Winchell
Born March 13, 1968
Died April 20, 1992

Robert was born in Minnesota and later moved to Northern Virginia. After three years at Goveton High School, he joined the first class a Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (1986 graduate). During high school he participated in the Model UN and debate. His early architectural projects placed well in several contests.

In 1986, Robert went to Virginia Tech to study architecture. He designed a wide variety of structures including a house addition and a farmhouse that were under construction at the time of his death. He drew on the philosophies of Frank Lloyd Weight for much of his work, often inspired and guided by Professor Robert N.S. Chiang of Virginia School of Architecture. In addition to his classes, he frequently enjoyed hiking, playing computer games, back-road explorations and debating on nearly every topic. He worked for UUSA on campus and spent many weekends constructing a terraced garden from old railroad ties. Robert was engaged to be married in the summer to Cynthia Tindall.

Robert is survived by his fiancÚ, Cynthia; his parents, Rod and Eileen Winchell of St. Louis, Missouri; his brothers Brent and Mark; and many good friends.

A small family funeral was held in St. Louis on Friday April 24, 1992 and his body was cremated with his ashes to be interred by his parents.

From a local newspaper, April 1992:

Posthumous degree planned for student for died Monday

Virginia Tech will award a degree posthumously May 9 to a student who died Monday afternoon.

Robert A. Winchell, 23, died in his apartment Monday while resting on the couch sometime after taking a shower, town police said.

Capt. Bill Brown said preliminary autopsy findings show that Winchell experienced some sort of heart arrhythmia and his heart gave out. However, Brown said, there was no history of heart problems and complete results of the autopsy will not be available for several weeks.

Tech spokesman Dave Nutter said Winchell was a fifth-year architecture student from St. Louis.

His parents will accept his degree May 9, Nutter said.

Guest Book

October 5, 2006

Ray Bowers, ray@bowers.com, Alexandria, VA

It is horrible what time does to our memory. I cannot remember how we met, I just know that Rob was my best friend through all of High School -- 3 years at Groveton and our senior year at TJHSS&T. We were on the debate team together, we were in 2 car crashes (he was driving both times, yet he was the first one to teach me to drive a stick shift a day before crash #2). We both had a dry off beat sense of humor at times and we could talk for hours. I think it is why we clicked. I think he'd have fun with modern technology, especially how it would change architecture, yet a good old classic corvette would still be his favorite car. Rob was so much more out going than I was in HS. A better people person. Something I could only aspire to. I learned a lot from him and I still miss him.

Yes, time slowly takes its toll on our memory. It is why if I could reconnect with just one mutual friend to hear about him or find one old photo with him, then I will consider all of the time I spent on this reunion worth it.

December 19, 2005

Wade Leonard, leonard_family@cox.net, Springfield, VA

Rob was a bright guy, and I knew him for quite a while. I think we first met at Groveton Elementary in 5th grade. But my most vivid memory of him are from Mr. Hatcher's engineering drawing and architecture classes in high school. I think he won an award for his house that he design, and it didn't surprise me when I ran into him at VT and found him studing architecture. Something he obviously loved and had a talent for doing.


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