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Jim Winkler, Guitarist and Draftsman

Thu, 10/19/2023 - 10:18

March 6, 1934 - October 13, 2023

James Winkler, an architectural draftsman and a talented flamenco and classical guitarist, died at home in Springs on Friday. He was 89 and had Parkinson’s disease. His daughter Jennifer Winkler was with him.

Mr. Winkler worked as a draftsman for the architects Alfred Scheffer, Greg Zwirko, and Frank Hollenbeck, drawing plans for houses and commercial buildings including the Maidstone Club, the East Hampton Library, and the Session House at the East Hampton Presbyterian Church, where he and his wife, Susan, were members.

He first came to the South Fork in 1964 to work with his father, Otto Winkler, who was supervising the construction of the artist Willem de Kooning’s studio in Springs. He and his father lived in an apartment over the Bohack grocery store in East Hampton, and it was in East Hampton, at a bar on Newtown Lane, that Mr. Winkler met Susan Garretson.

The two were married on April 10, 1965. They had two daughters, Anne and Jennifer.

The Winklers bought land in Springs and finished their own house in the early 1970s, raising their daughters there. Mr. Winkler enjoyed cooking, painting, and playing as well as watching tennis. Spending time at local beaches with his family and his four grandchildren was important to him.

He was “a talented, kind, and gentle man,” his family wrote. “He faced Parkinson’s with grace and always managed to keep a positive attitude.”

Mr. Winkler was born in San Francisco on March 6, 1934, to Otto Winkler, a well-known architect, and the former Mary Ford. He grew up on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco and on a ranch in Marin County. He was a competitive swimmer when he was younger and continued to swim throughout his life, enjoying the waters at Louse Point and the pool at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter in his later years.

He attended City College of San Francisco and, following in his father’s footsteps, studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and in Spain.

He pursued his interest in music through studies in Spain, Canada, and Mexico, and performed classical and flamenco guitar in Spain, California, and here on the South Fork. The guitar “was a huge focus of his life and he enjoyed playing every day,” his family wrote. His love of music enriched their lives, they said. “His guitar playing was our morning wakeup alarm.”

Mr. Winkler is survived by his wife, Susan Winkler, and his daughters, Jennifer Winkler of Springs and Anne Simoni of New Zealand, and by four grandchildren, Luca, Arianna, Mateo, and Isabella Simoni, all of New Zealand.

A service was held yesterday at the East Hampton Presbyterian Church. Mr. Winkler was buried at Green River Cemetery in Springs.

His family has suggested donations to the Parkinson Research Foundation, P.O. Box 96318, Washington, D.C. 20090-6318, or online at


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