Williams Lake’s first female mayor has died.
Ethel Winger was 84 years old and surrounded by family when she passed away at Cariboo Memorial Hospital at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29.
Ethel was born at Keithley Creek, B.C. on March 23, 1934 to Melva and Thomas Kinvig. Ethel married David Winger May 9, 1956 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and moved to Williams Lake shortly after.
They were happily married for 29 years until Dave’s sudden passing in 1985 and together raised two sons, Verner and Wesley, and a daughter, Debra.
But as well as being a mother and wife, Ethel was also a tenacious community leader, serving two terms as mayor of Williams Lake in the 1980s.
Though they didn’t always agree in the political arena, Mayor Walt Cobb said he’s always thought very highly of her.
“She was a very out-going and determined person — strong-willed. She stuck by her convictions. And I think she listened very well.”
When asked if he ever ran against her in an election, Cobb swiftly answered, “Never. She was too good of a mayor.”
Cobb said as mayor Ethel was a strong advocate for business, and always put Williams Lake first.
As a child Ethel was home schooled, and also attended school in Quesnel and Merritt, before moving to Williams Lake. After her husband died, Ethel travelled abroad in the winters and spent her summer at her family’s Keithley Creek property.
“That’s her dream place,” her son Vern said of Keithley Creek.
“She was born there and that’s where we’ll spread her ashes.”
Ethel leaves to mourn; her son Verner (Glenda), son Wesley (Kathleen) and daughter Debra (Jeffery) Garten, grandchildren: Alicia, David, Richard and Francesca(Colin) and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A celebration of life for Ethel will be announced at a later date.