Mark Perry Winters


Mark Perry Winters


Winters, Mark pic cropMark Perry Winters, 84, passed away Friday, January 31, 2014, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was born May 7, 1929, in McAlester, Oklahoma, to Marion and Ina Winters. He grew up in Stringtown, Oklahoma, 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, Oklahoma. 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, Oklahoma.

Upon graduation, Mark and Don moved to Eagletown, Oklahoma, 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, Oklahoma, 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 growing young family, Mark and Don decided that Don would stay at home with the children.

Mark and his family moved to Wilburton, Oklahoma, 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, Oklahoma 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 & 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.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the UCO Foundation, Mark Winters Basketball Family Endowment, 100 N. University Drive, Edmond, OK  73034.Memorial Services for Mark will be held at 10:30 am on 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.

6 thoughts on “Mark Perry Winters”

  1. Mariann and Ray Lowrie

    Mike, Beth and George:

    Terribly saddened by the news about cousin Mark. What an incredible legacy he

    left with so many years devoted to family, community, friends and students. We

    wish we could be there to share the burden of your loss. Sending loving thoughts,

    prayers and our deepest sympathy to all the family.

    Mariann and Ray Lowrie

  2. My Heart and my spirit is with the family. I owe everything to your father, who nurtured me as if I was his own son. I want you to know that my life has been rewarded by having you father as my coach and mentor. He taught me and coached me well. I will always remember your father as the great, loving,and caring man he was to me. MAY GOD BLESS EACH ONE OF YOU. MIKE, BETH, AND GEORGE I AM IN PRAYER FOR EACH OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES.

    PASTOR OF TEMPLE #126, 3520 N. KELLY,OKC,OK 73111

  3. I will always have fond memories of “Coach”. When I was a freshman, he took me under his wings and mentored me as a father. He always showed me respect and even called me “Sir Al”. I miss Ray Don and will miss Mark. My prayers are with the family and say you all can be proud to have called them mom and dad. What a great role model he was!!


  4. Was an honor to become friends with Mark working on 1992 reunion of the 1962 Eastern Oklahoma Mountaineers basketball team which finished 3rd in nation.

    He was a rare individual you liked and knew as soon as you met him; and we met over the telephone! Always a gentleman; always pleased to see you which would lift your day.

    Planning the team reunion was one of the most fun ventures ever; as a youngster followed the team results in the McAlester News-Capital daily. Later, knew him even better through a former player, Henry Migliore, who became close friends with Mark over the years.

    Henry told the story of taking an ill-advised, outlandish which amazingly scored. He was benched. coach told him it was the wrong play. They kidded about this over lunch. Coach Winters giving no ground, “It was the wrong play, Henry.” We all laughed.
    As we exited the restaurant, Henry joshed “Coach, still not forgiving me for that shot?”
    Coach smiled and said, “Henry, it was the wrong play!” We all laughed even harder than first time.

    That is why we do not refer to Mark Winters as having been a coach and teacher. He never retired from either role, thankfully. The lesson was always of paramount importance. Even 40 years later; and even though the shot scored.

  5. Larry Ninman

    The loss of “COACH” hits so hard. I was fortunate enough for him to include me on his last team at UCO. The values he stood for, the qualities he taught have carried with me in the 35 years i have now spent in Education. I would be remiss to say that as great of a coach asd he was he was by far a better man. A mentor to so many and a friend i felt for life. We will miss you COACH! Thanks for touching my life

    Larry Ninman
    Team of 78
    Superintendent Ryan School

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