Ada Merle Winstead, 77, Minot, and formerly of Rock River, Wyo., died Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in a Minot nursing home.
Merle was born Aug. 9, 1934, in Boone Prairie/Franklin, Texas, to George Irving and Sula B. (Lentz) Neal. She was reared and educated there and graduated from Franklin High School in 1952. As a young adult she resided in Wichita, Kan., where she worked for Beech Aircraft. She moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1957, where she operated a restaurant.
Merle married Richard Winstead on April 16, 1957, in Indiana. They made their home in McFadden, Wyo., before settling in Rock River, Wyo., where she and her husband owned a restaurant for many years. During this time Merle was appointed "Police Judge" and Dick was appointed "Deputy Marshal."
Dick passed away in May 1987. Following his death, Merle moved to Minot to assist her sister, Gladys Hayes, in the operation of her restaurant, Gladys' Place. They operated that restaurant until 2005, when Gladys died. Merle had worked part time at Lydia's Cafe for a short time until she retired in 2006 and devoted much of her free time to the Faith United Methodist Church Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.
Merle was a member of Faith United Methodist Church, Minot, and was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. Also, she was a member of the Women of the Moose Lodge and a former member of the Eagles and American Legion auxiliaries. Merle especially enjoyed reading, sewing, and traveling, and she loved being outside.
While living in Wyoming, Merle and Dick had their own airplane and Merle had her pilot's license and loved flying. Also, she enjoyed hunting, shooting, pinochle, sewing, cooking and baking. She was a member of the Rock River Ladies Extension Club, Lioness Club, and was very active in the VFW Auxiliary. A highlight of Merle's life was a Mediterranean cruise with her friend Tina Schultz. She is especially dear to her family because of her positive attitude and for the special care she provided to many of her family members.
Merle is survived by: her brother, James "Frank" (Evelyn) Neal, of Park City, Kan.; several nieces and nephews including Rickey James Neal, Brenda Dunn, and Karen Alderson, as well as seven grandnieces and two grandnephews, all of Wichita, Kan., and her church family and friends.
Merle was preceded in death by her parents; husband; sister, Gladys Hayes; and brother, George Neal.
Funeral service: Friday, July 13, 2012, at 11 a.m., in Vincent United Methodist Church, Minot, because of the flooding of Faith United Methodist Church.
Interment: Will be in Sunset Memorial Gardens, Minot.
Visitation: Thursday, July 12, from 2 to 7 p.m., in Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.
Memorials: Are preferred to the Faith United Methodist Church Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.
Those wishing to sign the online memorial register or share memories are invited to use the expressions of sympathy section at (www.thomasfamilyfuneralhome.com).