James Gordon Winkler, architect; musician

James G. Winkler
James G. Winkler
Posted: July 09, 2014

James Gordon Winkler, 62, of Bala Cynwyd, a Philadelphia architect and bluegrass music lover, died Tuesday, July 1, of cancer at his home.

Mr. Winkler's passion was architecture and design.

"He believed in the power of good design to influence the vitality of cities, and in the preservation of buildings as a connection to the past," said his wife, Marion "Mimi" Converse Winkler, also an architect.

He also enjoyed mentoring the next generation of architects.

Mr. Winkler was raised in North Wilkesboro, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His mother was Annie Finley Winkler, a historian and founder of the Wilkes Art Gallery in Wilkesboro.

Mr. Winkler earned bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture from North Carolina State University and the University of California, Los Angeles.

After graduating, he worked with architect Charles Moore and then Barton Myers in Los Angeles. In 1987, he moved to Philadelphia to work for the architectural firm of Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown.

While in Philadelphia, he and his wife met through mutual friends.

After they married, Mr. Winkler took a job with the architectural firm of Cesar Pelli & Associates in New Haven, Conn. He returned to Philadelphia in 1993 to join DPK&A Architects. In 2001, he and his wife founded the firm of Converse Winkler Architecture in Bala Cynwyd.

Some projects he designed and managed were the 24th/25th Police District Headquarters at 3901 Whitaker Ave.; renovation and expansion of the Erie Federal Court Complex; and the Terminal B/C expansion at Philadelphia International Airport.

He was a member of the American Institute of Architects Philadelphia chapter and served on its design committee. He was certified as an LEED-accredited professional.

Mr. Winkler also thrived on music. He loved old-time bluegrass music, and played the banjo and guitar. He sang bass with the Overbrook Presbyterian Church Choir. Recently, he went on tour with the church choir to Germany and the Czech Republic.

Mr. Winkler loved roaming the mountains of Montana, hunting for antelope, deer and elk. The elk eluded him, but he filled the home freezer with deer and antelope meat, his wife said.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a son Harrison E.; a daughter Rebecca S.; two sisters; and a cousin.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 8, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Ave. Interment is private.

Contributions may be made to the Partners for Sacred Places, 1700 Sansom St., Philadelphia 19003.



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