Robert S. Winter, Jr. worked for Pan American Airways from 1940 in Miami, Florida until his retirement in 1980 at Kennedy Airport--a career that spanned forty years. His specialty was electronics, especially instrumentation. These photo were in his collections.
For a wonderful collection of photos of: Pan Am and Miami Airport Photos
Summary of Bob Winter's CareerBob attended a variety of schools.
1923-1927 Various Elementary Schools in Detroit, MI
1927-1928 Mariemont Elementary, Mariemont, Ohio
1928-1930 Thomas A. Edison, Detroit, MI
09/1930-11/1930 Cooley High School, Detroit, MI
11/30/1930-06/1931 Bunker Hill Junior High, Muskegon, MI
09/1931-06/1934 Muskegon High School, Muskegon, MI
09/1934-06/1938 Olivet College, Olivet, MI
09/1938-06/1939 University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
09/1939-06/1940 Massachusetts Radio School, Boston, MA
Robert S. Winter Sr, Velma White Winter and Robert S. "Bob" Winter Jr. at Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Detroit, MI ca 1920.
Robert Winter Jr. was born at home in Woonsocket, RI, on Collins Avenue. The family moved in 1919 to Detroit, MI on Northwestern Ave.Then Philadelphia Avenue then to Tyler Avenue—out Linwood Avenue. Also they were on Davison Avenue.
At age 11, the family moved to Mariemont, a suburb of Cincinnati for a year. It was near Miami Bluff and the Little Miami River. This was an industry owned place. Steam was piped to homes from an underground utility. They then returned to Detroit on Penrod Avenue. They attended church nearby that our friend Dave Ross attended. Robert Jr. just started high school when they moved to Muskegon, MI and Peck Street, near car ferry. His father worked at Continental Motors. They also lived on Miner Street near Lake Michigan. Later moved close in on Peck and Southern Street near Hackley Hospital. His dad now worked in Muskegon Heights for Norge Refrigerators, production shift-forman. He also was factory manager a Freeman4-wheel drive truck facility (1929-30) at $100/week. An English teacher at the school, Celestia Eddy, lived next door and raised one of Bob Winter's friend's, Steve Newley.
On Bob Winter's Security Questionnaire, he lists the schools he attended. He was in school in Detroit until 1927 when the family moved to Mariemont, Ohio. In 1920, his father was a manager for Wilton Engineering in Detroit. They lived at 1259 West Philadelphia Ave. In 1921, he was a draftsman. In 1922, there is a Robert S. Winter working as a production engineer and living at 2677 Northwestern Ave in Detroit. Later moved back to Wrentham and worked at Nathan Fisher's Livery at right in photo below.
His father had worked for Rickenbacker Motors. Bob's son, Robert III, recalls that his grandfather was maybe in charge of the production line. Rickenbacker quit the company in 1926. In November of 1926, bankruptcy proceeding began. The company carried on for a short while filling outstanding orders. Apparently, Bob's dad received a job offer in Mariemont likely associated with all the construction taking place. Bob Winter states that from 1927-1928 he attended Mariemont Elementary School in Ohio. This is a very interesting fact. Mariemont, Ohio, at that time was in the middle of being constructed as a planned community. It was being paid for by Mary Muhlenberg Emery, a wealthy philanthropist. She hired a celebrated city planner to carry out her dream. Acquisition of the property located about ten miles east of downtown Cincinnati and on a plateau above the Little Miami River began in 1913. The first spadeful of Earth for Mariemont was turned by Mrs. Emery on April 23, 1923. Twenty-five of the country’s leading architects were employed to work with the plan developed by John Nolen, the eminent town-planner hired by the Mariemont Company to design and build this community on the 420 acres of gently rolling farm land anciently inhabited by Indians. The first building was completed in 1924-25. The school was actually the Dale Park School; there was no Mariemont Elementary School until around 1950. He said he attended various schools from 1923 to 1927 in Detroit, MI and returned to Detroit and Thomas A. Edison Elementary School in 1928. Bob would have been eleven in 1927 and hence, in fifth grade. A newspaper clipping included the name of the fifth grade teacher at Dale Park School, she was Marie Hawk. She married the eventual mayor, E. Boyd Jordan, and taught for 42 years, dying in 1996. Here is a link to the history of Mariemont, OH.
Dale Park School in 1928. Bob Winter is very likely in this photo, however quality is not good enough to identify him. I am searching for a better version.
While at Thomas A. Edison School in Detroit, he won a writing award worth $100 and was pictured in the newspaper. The original picture is included.
In 1930, the family was renting a new house on 14914 Penrod Street, Detroit. The home still exists, see photo below:
Bob Winter attended Muskegon Senior High School in Muskegon, Michigan, 1931-1934. He was active on the school magazine and editor of the magazine during his senior year. He was class valedictorian.
Bob Winter earned a B. S. at Olivet College in Michigan. When he was a child, his Aunt Almira Augusta White Read gave him $1000 for his college fund. She gave his cousin, Donald White, the same. There, he majored in physics and mathematics. At Olivet, he worked in the dining hall and kitchen and was a grader for physics classes. He was an avid bicyclist.
He next attended University of Iowa for one year on a fellowship working towards a master's degree in physics (1938-1939). He was a Lab Instructor at Iowa. He and his fiancé, Mary Elizabeth "Polly" Parrott, broke up. He was so despondent that he chose not to return for a second year.
University of Iowa course catalog--1938-39--Bob as a graduate student, UI library archives
He then completed a course at Massachusetts Radio School (Sept 1939-June 1940), obtaining commercial radio-telephone first class and radio-telegraph second class licenses. The school was located at 18 Boylston St., Boston. A graduate of the school became a supervisor at Pan Am. He came back to the school to recruit. Bob was hired as a mechanic and maintenance person. He was told, "I don't know if you will be a mechanic or radio operator." He had to pass a test in Morse Code which he never used. He had built a crystal radio as a boy in Detroit.
Click here for a copy of his demanding final exam: Mass Radio School Final Exam
He joined Pan American in Miami. Florida, July 23, 1940 at Dinner Key, and spent six years in radio maintenance including the positions of Radio Inspector and Foreman of the Radio Shop. He was assigned c. n. p., (clean and paint), he cleaned, sanded and painted radios, etc.
On October 27, 1940, Robert Winter married Lois Lincoln Brown, his fiancé from Massachusetts. They were married in the Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove, Florida.
He joined the Engineering Department as Technical Writer in 1947, preparing maintenance procedures, and after one year in this capacity was assigned to the Engineering, Instrument and Electrical section as a Service Engineer. In 1960, he was appointed Supervisor of the Instrument and Electrical group and in 1964 was made Supervisor, Avionics Engineering. In this capacity, he was responsible for auto flight control, instrument and electronics engineering for Pan Am’s Miami Base. He tells of a trip to Panama to test autopilot operation. On the way home, Bob and the pilot fell asleep, copilot was wide awake and used autopilot successfully.
He met Herbert Hoover while going through revolving door at the old Eastern Airlines terminal.
1940-1946 Communications Department, PAA, Miami - Radio Mechanic, Radio Mechanic First Class, Radio Inspector, Radio Shop Foreman, Dinner Key Asst., Radio Shop Forman, PAF; assisted in office or Aircraft Radio Maintenance Supervisor.
1946-1947 Maintenance Procedure: Station, PAA, Miami
1947-1953 Senior Areo Engineer, Instrument & Electrical Section
July 1953 - April 1954 Staff Engineer, Component. Service Engineering Section
April 1954 - December 1959 Staff Engineer, Specialist Engineer, Instrument & Electrical Design Section
Sept. 1957 -April. 1959
Represented the Engineering Department on the Jet Provisioning Team, attending provisioning/training sessions at the following vendors: Jack & Heintz; Minneapolis-Honeywell; Carrier; and Westinghouse. Attended a two-week factory training course on the DC-8 electrical system in September, 1959.
Jan. 1960 - March, 1961
Supervisor, I.&E. Group in Jet Aircraft Service Engineering Section. Attended training courses on KIFIS system at Kollsman factory, and SP-30 autopilot at Sperry during 1960. Member All Weather Maintenance Committee, 1963-1964.
March 1964-Aug 1968
Supervisor, Avionics Engineering, PAA, Miami.
Attended three-day Sperry Digital Computer Courses at Miami.
Attended two-week B727 Electronics Course at Boeing factory in 1965.
Took PAA B727 General Familiarization Course (12 hours) in 1966.
Served as Supt. Component Engineering (Acting) from November 15, 1965 until January 28, 1966
Sept 1968-Dec 1968 Supervisor Avionics Service Engineering, PAA, JFK, Member of B747 Avionics Maintainability Working Group.
Jan 1969-Dec 1970 Superintendent Avionics Service Engineering PAA, JFK. Attended four-day B747 Familiarization Course given by PAA Jan 1969.
SOCIAL & BUSINESS ACTIVITIES:
Member FAA Management Club (NAP)
Member Plymouth Congregational Church
House Modifications and Classical Music
Since 1960, Mr. Winter took an active part in the engineering or flight testing of the following projects requiring STC approval:
Cockpit Voice Recorder Installation - DC6B
Dual Doppler Navigation System - DC-8
Low Range Radio Altimeter System - DC-8, B707
Clear Air Turbulence Detection System Evaluation
Litton Inertial Navigation System Evaluation
EMCO Autopilot Monitoring System - B707
On a business trip to California, Bob was on his way home just out of LA on a Constellation. He was in rear of the plane. Charles Lindbergh was on board. Bob talked to the pilot and convinced him to let Lindbergh fly the plane. Bob reported, "He was like a little kid playing chopsticks with Paderewski, said the pilot." Lindbergh was tech advisor for PanAm. Ann Morrow Lindbergh christened the 747 Special Performan Clipper.
In his 1970 position of Assistant Avionics Engineering Manager, He was primarily concerned with service engineering for the avionics systems on the B747 aircraft. In connection with these duties he had received classroom training both at the Boeing factory and in-house at Pan Am. He was a Pan American representative on the B747 Avionics Working Group which prepared the avionics maintenance program for FAA Maintenance Review Board approval.
In 1977, Bob Winter was promoted to Supervisor of Avionics Engineering. He had previously served temporarily in this position a number times.
PanAm moved its operations to Kennedy Airport in New York. Bob and Lois moved in 1968 to Hunington Station, along with a number of their PanAm friends. Their next door neighbor, member of the PanAm Flying Club, had a small plane and called one day and ask if they would like to get some ice cream. They drove to a small and flew to Danbury, CT and was back home that evening.
Bob Winter's son, Robert S.Winter III, provided the following loving comments on his father and the information on this page:
"Congratulations! What a treat!!! The picture of him emerging from the car in London! My heart leapt into my throat. The mechanics outfits! I remember only so very vaguely PanAm sending him to Berlin. I was flooded with memories of so many, many airplane talks with Dad over the years. He never met an aircraft he did not find fascinating. I grew to look forward as much as he did to the issues of Aviation Week. He was an unfailingly and unassumingly modest man. We never heard about, of course, any letters of commendation, or his 1977 promotion, etc. I understand, even more from your amazing coverage, why he had such a 1927 Lindberg-forward romance with flying. He just loved aircraft with all his mind and heart, and you document it so lovingly. It was a boy-like fascination that never changed. Looking back, I wish I’d told him how much I admired that.
"Classical music was not one of his hobbies, despite his including it on his resumé. On Sundays, when we came home from church his job was to put WVCG [The “Good Music” station] on the radio as Mom served up the meat loaf dinner to the opening bars of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto. I still salivate when I hear the opening of that concerto. He and I built the Heathkit amplifier for our mono hi-fi together, but the thrill for him was the construction, not the music it made possible.
"His hobbies were actually fixing anything and everything, improving anything and everything, adding on to our homes to make Mom feel more special—in short, he loved doing things for others. When I was only 4 or 5, he would enlist me at Campina Court to crawl into small spaces to run the 1950s version of Romex, which he would then put together. When I got older, he would patiently explain how a voltmeter worked with the same gentleness and patience that you always show— though, even as he had a good sense of humor, in my entire life I never heard him tell or crack a joke. That’s why, when I met you I was so thrilled that your stories always had a twinkle in them where I could laugh uncontrollably. (Note added: One summer Bob and Lois traveled with us and for some reason the phrase "Nasty Gash" was popular and Bob surprised us on more than one occasion saying it to the delight of everyone around.–Mel). He loved his family with a quiet steadfastness that I have leaned on heavily throughout my life. More than once on Sunday mornings, when he and I would get up early to read the Miami Herald, he would remark at how amazed he always was that someone as glamorous and smart as Mom had agreed to marry him. He wasn’t kidding. I just told him that Mom was a good judge of character."
"You can see that, with the ever-expanding site, you’ve once again poked out of hibernation a whole treasure trove of wonderful memories. I really don’t have the words to thank you. So for now you’ll have to make do with 'thank you'.”