Mark Perry Winters, 84, passed away Friday, January 31, 2014, in Oklahoma City, Okla. He was born May 7, 1929, in McAlester, Okla., to Marion and Ina Winters. He grew up in Stringtown, Okla., where he played basketball and baseball while in high school.
Mark met the love of his life, Ray Don Tomlinson, while in school earning his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Physical Education at Southeastern State College in Durant, Okla. While dating, the couple discovered their mutual love of dancing, and spent many hours in each other’s arms on the dance floor. Mark and Don were married July 22, 1950, at the First Methodist Church in Broken Bow, Okla.
Upon graduation, Mark and Don moved to Eagletown, Okla. to embark on their teaching careers. Mark taught Math and coached boys’ basketball, while Don taught Home Economics. In 1951, Mark and Don’s first son was born.
In 1952 Mark moved his family to Valiant, Okla., where he continued his teaching and coaching career at Valiant High School. During this time Mark’s family welcomed their daughter to the family. Now with a young growing family, Mark and Don decided that Don would stay at home with the children.
Mark and his family moved to Wilburton, Okla., to join the faculty of Eastern Oklahoma State College. Mark taught Mathematics and Physical Education and was head basketball and baseball coach, and soon his responsibilities expanded to include the role of athletic director. They completed their family in Wilburton with the birth of their youngest son.
The fall of 1962 found Mark moving his family to Edmond, Okla. where he joined the faculty of Central State University as a physical education teacher and basketball coach for the next 16 years. He was later inducted into the now University of Central Oklahoma Hall of Fame for his coaching achievements. Mark included Don and their children in many basketball trips.
A veteran of 28 years of coaching basketball in the state of Oklahoma, Mark compiled a career coaching record of 536 wins and 266 losses, as well as a multitude of conference and district championships, “Coach of the Year” awards, and participation in the NJCAA and NAIA National Championship Tournaments.
An active Edmond resident, Mark assisted with beginning the 4th of July celebrations and Liberty Fest. He was a charter member of the Lion’s Club and Elk’s Club.
In 1979, Mark and Don experienced one of life’s greatest joys, the birth of their first grandchild. Through the years many hours were spent sharing their love and creating lasting memories with their five grandchildren.
After retiring from college coaching, Mark joined the Oklahoma Guaranteed Student Loan Program serving a span of ten years. During this time he also was involved on national level as NCHELP Region VI Director in 1988 and as Chairman of the NCHELP/SSCR Project Committee as well as a member of the AACRAO Task Force to Develop Guidelines for the Enrollment Verification Process for Student Loan Agencies.
On July 1, 1988, Mark accepted the position and served as vice president of collections with the Oklahoma Student Loan Authority.
He retired in December of 1992 after completing 42 years of service in education. In his retirement Mark soon became active in Senior Olympics basketball, track, softball and field (shot put, discus javelin). It was during the summer of 1996 his softball team competed and won the title United States Slow-pitch Softball Association Masters World Championship.
Feeling the need for a winter sport to stay active, Mark and Don took up snow skiing and soon introduced the entire family to the sport, making several trips to Colorado and New Mexico. Many wonderful trips to the mountains were enjoyed by all of his family. The grandkids loved going to the mountains with their PaPa and MiMi, and some of Mark’s happiest moments were with his grandchildren on these trips.
Throughout their lives Mark and Don enjoyed weekend trips to the lake with family and friends, and they took several trips to see different areas of the United States, including an Alaskan cruise. Mark and Don also enjoyed playing tennis and the companionship they enjoyed with their tennis friends. They were long time members of the First Presbyterian Church of Edmond.
Mark was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Ray Don Tomlinson Winters.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his oldest son, Mike Winters and daughter-in-law Mary of Yukon; his daughter, Beth Henderson and son-in-law Marvin of Afton; and his youngest son, George Winters and daughter-in-law Laura of Edmond; five grandchildren, Mariah Kennemer and husband Colt, Chad Henderson and wife, Erin, Miranda Smart and husband Greg, Pierce Winters, and Kinsey Winters; four great-grandchildren: Rileigh Kennemer, Hunter Smart, Gracie Smart, and Lillie Kennemer, and a host of family members, former student athletes and dear friends.
Memorial services for Mark will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at the First Presbyterian Church in Edmond. A private interment will be held at Memorial Park Cemetery, Oklahoma City.
Services are under the direction of Matthews Funeral Home, Edmond.