Fran Van Winkle

Honored by:Joe Van Winkle
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Buelah Frances Briggs Van Winkle was born and reared in Great Falls, Montana and came to Willamette in 1939, where she largely worked her way through school and became active in numerous campus groups, being recognized as Who's Who Among College Students. After her husband Joe graduated from Law School she pursued a career in sales, where she led her company, and sales management. However, it was in answering a "male only" ad for a personnel analyst that she began her real career in her early '40's, and worked her way up to become director for the State of Iowa Department of Personnel, serving under two governors and acquiring many honors in a most remarkable career.

Fran was not satisfied with federal restrictions on the way state governmental employees could be recruited, and she went back to Washington to get the Federal Regulation changed which forbid the use of Unemployment Offices. For this significant achievement she was awarded the "IPA Service Award" by the Federal Department of Personnel Management that the previous year had been awarded to the Governor of Kansas, and today most states use the system she made possible and changed in the recruitment of state employees. She retired in 1985 from her position, where she managed the personnel affairs of 23,000 state employees, and liked to say that then she began doing for free what she used to get paid for.

Fran was not just a technician that applied the "rule" of personnel administration. She entered the field because she genuinely loved people and managed by inspiring and always made her mark by being helpful. Her husband likes to say that most wives are known as, for example "Joe Van Winkle's wife." However, he was known as "Fran Van Winkle's husband!" And he was proud of it.

As she knew her days were numbered she gloried in the good life she had been privileged to live and the things she had been allowed to do. She succeeded when she was in straight competition with men, often even facing a little prejudice before the days of "female affirmative action". And she gloried in her four fine children, all of whom have college degrees and three have graduate degrees, and in her four wonderful grandchildren without one bad apple in the whole lot. She passed away May 24, 1994 after a prolonged bout with cancer, and a full choir sang the "Hallelujah Chorus" at the Celebration of Life that was held to commemorate her passing.

Submitted on 7/1/96