SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Winton Covey, 82, passed away on August 26, 2011 in San Francisco, Calif., following a long illness after having moved to the Bay Area in the fall of 2010 from his longtime home in West Virginia.
Winton was born in his grandmother's log house in Glen Daniel, W.Va. in 1929. His parents were the late Winton Guy Covey and the late Madelene Allen Covey Thompson. During World War II, the family moved to Baltimore, Md., where Winton completed high school and earned his bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University.
Serving as a tank commander in the NATO allied forces during the Korean War, he attained the rank of Captain and was awarded the Bronze Star. After returning to the U.S., Winton continued his academic career by completing his Ph.D. in Soil Science at Texas A&M and transitioned from research agronomist to Associate Professor of Meteorology at Cornell University in 1965.
In 1968, Winton moved back to southern West Virginia, and settled in Lerona, just outside Athens, where he taught Natural Sciences at Concord College (now Concord University) until his retirement in 1994.
A man of many interests—organic gardening, cave crawling, wine making, soup simmering, tree planting, map-reading, beekeeping, history, and genealogy—he was also a faculty sponsor of Concord's Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity and active in Lions Club, Ruritans, and the Mercer County Historical Society. His passion for mountain music evolved from banjo picking into folk dancing and square dance calling. But the endeavor in which he took the most pride was playwriting—three comedies in the style of Aristophanes and two Mummers plays that were performed locally.
Winton is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Mary Chihiro Ono Covey; daughter, Mandy Covey; and special daughter, Amy Barron, all of San Francisco. He was preceded in death by his son, David Bruce Covey.
He is also survived by sister, Alice Jo and brother-in-law Edwin Wills of Charleston, W.Va.; sister, Shirley Mae and brother-in-law Dominic Mele of Fallston, Md.; brother, Jerry and sister-in-law Joan Malone Covey of Newcastle, Ind.; brother-in-law Frank Ono of Seabrook, N.J.; and many nephews and nieces.
A small family gathering is planned to be held in West Virginia. In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to be made in Winton Covey's memory to the Concord University Student Scholarship Fund or to the Salvation Army.
Information submitted by Neptune Society of Northern California.