Dorothy Louisa Winchel

Dorothy Louisa Winchel, 99, of La Crosse passed away on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse.

Dorothy Louisa WinchelShe was born June 11, 1922, in La Crosse to Charles “Carl” and Louisa (Breidel) Zanter, and was a graduate of Aquinas High School, class of 1940 and 1941. On November 8, 1952, Dorothy married Russel O. Winchel in La Crosse. Russ preceded Dorothy in death on February 26, 1984.

Early in her life, Dorothy worked as a bookkeeper at the W.T. Grant store in downtown La Crosse. She went on to work at Northern Engraving, where she met her husband, Russ. After her marriage and once her daughters reached school age, Dorothy embarked on a 37-year career at Sears, where she clerked in every department within the store and was the first woman to work in the automotive department. She was also the first area woman to obtain a credit card in her name, not her husband’s.

Dorothy and Russ were avid square dancers and were co-founders of the Happy Twirlers Square Dance Club. Dorothy was also a long-time member of the Women of the Moose. She was an expert seamstress and a talented gardener who took immense pride in her vegetable and flower gardens. Dorothy loved to travel, not only across the United States but also to destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia. While visiting her daughter Joyce’s family in the Philippines, she traveled with them to China, where she climbed the Great Wall at age 75.

Dorothy is survived by her daughters, Lorrayne Winchel Beltz (Carlos Schmidt) of La Crosse and Joyce (Noubassem “Basile”) Namde of Annandale, VA; grandchildren and great-grandchildren, James (Sandy) Snyder, Audra Holter-Martin and her children, Katie, Cody, Kristen, and Caleb, Jason Winchel (Angie Huset) and his children, Dorothy and Angelina, Madjimbaye (Carolyn) Namde and their children, Olive, Henry, and Abram, Adoum (Chloe) Namde and their children, Solomon and Amelie, and Ronel Namde; a stepgrandson, Donald Winchel Jr.; and nine great-great grandchildren.

In addition to her husband, Russ, she was preceded in death by a stepson, Donald Winchel and a step-grandson, Steve Winchel.

Due to the recent upsurge in COVID, a memorial Mass celebrating Dorothy’s life will be delayed until later this year. Once scheduled, Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of La Crosse will announce service details. Online condolences may be submitted at