Carole Louise (Loch) Winkler, age 78, of Isanti passed peacefully surrounded by family April 21, 2018. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, April 27, 2018 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Isanti with a visitation one hour prior to the service and also from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Thursday, April 26th also at the church. Interment will be in Christ the King Catholic Cemetery.
Five months after the passing of her husband of 53 years, Carole let go of her earthly bonds to join her beloved Tom in the next life, where she passed peacefully surrounded by family April 21, 2018. During her week in hospice, family and friends kept a constant vigil, and were able to share many stories, prayers, laughter, and tears. Carole and Tom raised four children, and were blessed with eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Carole grew up in the small town of Watkins, MN. She obtained her nursing degree at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, a school that held a special place in her heart throughout her life. A nurse of more than 35 years, Carole had a special gift of giving care and also in providing comfort. She began her career in the Mental Health Unit at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Paul, where she quickly was promoted to head nurse. But country life was in her blood, and she and Tom relocated their family to a 13-acre hobby farm outside of Isanti, where the kids grew up surrounded by animals and pets of all sorts, including horses, dogs, cats, and rabbits, and where Carole and Tom ably tended a large vegetable garden each year, and where they settled in to the rhythm of constant hard work and quiet, clear nights.
Upon moving to Isanti, Carole continued as a public health nurse, where she attended to the needs of patients throughout Anoka, Isanti, and Milaca counties, often to those with little means and whose needs were greatest. It was also here where she took up her love for painting, winning several awards for capturing the beauty of the rural landscapes she so loved. And to the delight of her grandchildren (and sons in laws), Carole was a talented cook and master baker, and nourished them all with a never-ending supply of pies, rolls, and breads.
As Tom struggled with Alzheimer’s, Carole glided naturally into the role of primary care-taker, shouldering that daunting responsibility for almost fifteen years. During this time, Carole maintained her love of family and friends, and her Catholic faith only deepened. She and Tom found true joy in teaching religious education to area youth for many years, and she cherished time spent with her friends from her beloved St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.
Carole took joy in simple things, especially the beauty of God’s creation in the natural world. Her back porch on her Isanti home and front porch on her Leech Lake cabin both faced west, and as the sun fell below the horizon each night and cast a soft glow upon the trees, Carole gave thanks for God’s blessing and the wonder of it all.
Carole was a mother and grandmother first and foremost and was very much loved by her family. She will be deeply missed by daughters, Mary (Todd) Guerrero, Barb (Tom) Huot, and Jen (Tom) Dickerson, and son, Chuck Winkler (Marnee Knetsch); two brothers, Dave (Jo) Loch, and Frank (Kathi) Loch; grandchildren, Ted, Nick, and Will Guerrero, Jessica (Nick) Lahti, Kate (Mark) Doll, and Allie (Travis) Fleitman, and Simon and Grace Dickerson; great-grandchildren, Clara, Mabel, George, Emma and Agnes; and by many other relatives and friends. She led a life well-lived, which will be carried on through her family and the many people she touched.