Winifred Breitbach

March 24, 1932-Nov. 20, 2020

Winifred T. Breitbach,

88, native of Minot and

best known as Wini, died

November 20, 2020, in

Houston, Texas, where

she had lived for over fifty

years. She was a nurse,

and carved out a career

that was marked by

achievement and recogni-

tion, especially as a

research nurse.

She was born March 24,

1932, in Minot, a daughter

of Melvin and Barbara

Aus. Reared in Minot, she

graduated from St. Leo’s

High School in 1950. She

attended and graduated

from the St. Alexius

School of Nursing in

Bismarck, and began a

career that spanned more

than fifty years.

At a young age, she be-

came a nursing supervisor

at St. Joseph Hospital in

Denver, Colorado. She

moved to Houston in 1966

and worked at the Metho-

dist Hospital in the Texas

Medical Center where she

obtained a cardiovascular

nursing certification. She

was night supervisor at

that facility’s cardiovas-

cular intensive care unit,

and played a significant

role in the acquisition of

the first heart transplant

performed in the United


She shifted into the

department of neurology

at Baylor College of Medi-

cine as a research nurse in

1972 and pioneered cere-

bral revascularization stu-

dies involving intracranial

bypass surgery. She later

joined neurological clini-

cal services at Baylor. She

continued there for the

balance of her career,

working with Dr. Victor

M. Rivera beginning with

care in general and vascu-

lar neurology.

She subsequently con-

centrated her work on the

disease of multiple

sclerosis, contributing and

pioneering in research on

early therapies in the

understanding of the

mechanism of MS. At the

same time, she provided

extensive hours to patient


She was one of the ori-

ginal members of the na-

tional MS Nurse Special-

ist Program, receiving the

additional title of MS Cer-

tified Nurse. She was the

first MS nurse at the Max-

ine Mesinger MS

Comprehensive Care

Center, inaugurated in

2003. For almost four de-

cades, she took care of

thousands of MS patients.

She also contributed to

the MS neurological edu-

cation and training of

nurses, medical students

and residents.

The International Or-

ganization of MS Nurses

recognized her work as an

MS nurse pioneer. For her

volunteer work she also

was the recipient of

several recognitions and

awards by the American

Heart Association.

In 2017, she lost her

home to hurricane Har-

vey. She and her dog,

Gizmo, were rescued by

an airboat. After that, she

moved to an area near

Sheboygan, Wisconsin,

where family members

live. Eventually, she re-

turned to Houston where

she since had lived. She

was a longtime member of

Corpus Christi church in


Surviving are a

sister-in-law, Dawn Aus;

nieces and nephews, Pa-

tricia Morris and her hus-

band, Chuck, Nancy

Zehren, Diana Bauer and

her husband, Dennis,

Mary Arneson and her

husband, Jason, Tony Aus

and his wife, Denise, and

Douglas Aus and his wife,


Survivors also include

close friends Dr. Victor

Rivera and his wife Cristi-

na and a number of

great-nieces and


She was preceded in

death by her parents, a

sister, Germaine, and a

brother, Alan Aus.

Following cremation

her ashes were to be sent

to Mequon, Wisconsin,

for interment in Resurrec-tion Cemetery.