Cover photo for Sherl Joseph Winter's Obituary
Sherl Joseph Winter Profile Photo
Sherl

Sherl Joseph Winter

d. July 19, 2020

To bring joy and laughter to children is one of life’s most enduring legacies. That is what “Joe” Winter did when he created the “Family of Bears for Three Bears Park at 3rd & Delancey Sts. in Phila. In 1966, he was commissioned by John F. Collins, noted landscape architect, to create a play sculpture for the park. Joe received a Housing and Urban design award for outdoor sculpture for his work, and it has become something of a Philadelphia icon. Many families, especially those who are relocating, have requested a replica as a way to remember their happy moments spent in the park. Joe passed away on July 19th at age 85, from cancer, at his home in Chestnut Hill, with his wife, Kathy, daughters Kathy and Genienne, and son, Joe, by his side. While the Family of Bears is one of Joe’s best known pieces, the Philadelphia landscape and suburbs is dotted with his work. From Ambler to Danville to Norristown, and as far north as Salem, MA, where he created a Fountain Sculpture in Town House Square with John Collins, for which he received his second HUD award. Joe was born in Dayton, Ohio, on October 2, 1934, where his father, a pediatrician, practiced medicine, and his mother, Anne raised Joe and his two sisters, Genevieve and Mary. Joe graduated from Georgetown Prep in Maryland. While living in Philadelphia, Joe discovered the PAFA. He met his wife, Kathy, a painter, there. She liked to say she got the best prize at the Academy! They married and raised three children, two daughters and a son Joe, who is also a sculptor. Joe, Sr. received the Stimson and Stewardson prizes while a student there, and a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in a coordinated program with the University of Penna. One of his teachers at the Academy was the noted sculptor, Walker Hancock, who introduced the students to Medallic Sculpture. This proved to be a strong direction for Joe’s work. In 1967 he joined the United States Mint as a Sculptor – Engraver and had several of his designs were chosen for medals featuring the following subjects: U.S. Marine Corps Bicentennial, American Revolution Bicentennial, and Lady Bird Johnson. He designed the Willa Cather gold medallion for the American Arts program and modeled the reverse of the 1986 eagle gold bullion coin (with the “family of eagles” designed by Mrs. Miley Busiek). His Commemorative credits include the 1986 Statue of Liberty half dollar, and 1988 Olympic silver dollar. He served as “acting” Chief Engraver upon the retirement of Frank Gasparro. After 16 years, he left the Mint and opened his own company, The Winter Art Studio, in Chestnut Hill, where he created many medal and coins for private mints across the country. In 2005, he was appointed to the Board of the CCAC – Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, where he served for four years. The Committee was formed to advise the Secretary of the Treasury on any theme or design proposals relating to circulating, bullion and commemorative coinage, Congressional Gold Medals, and national and other medals produced by the Sec. Of the Treasury. Joe’s many Liturgical Sculpture Commissions include a Baptistry wall sculpture, Our Mother of Consolation Church, Phila., PA, stature of St. Gianna Beretta Molla for the Shrine of the Nativity of Our Lord Church, Warminster PA, and wall sculpture for Old St. Mary’s Church, Phila., PA His teaching career included Rider College in Lambertville, N.J., Chestnut Hill College, Phila., PA, and the LaSalle Scholasticate in Elkins Park, PA. His work is in many private collections as well as the PAFA Fellowship, Phila., PA, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, and the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica. Published work: Sculpture of a City, Walker Publishing Company, 1974 Commemorative Coins of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia, Q. David Bowers, 1991 He loved all aspects of art, and was quoted in an interview in the New York Times as saying: “A penny is more than loose change. You are carrying around a little piece of sculpture all the time”. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Kathleen McKenna Winter, his children, Kathleen Winter (Henry Jaffe), Sherl Joseph Winter, Jr. (Katherine Schreiber), Genienne Navarro, and six grandchildren, Kaitlin Vannatten (Ryan), Jessica Weinberger (Dylan), Ian Winter, Grace Winter (Rory Wolf – Bielawa), and Bela and Elena Navarro. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at Our Mother of Consolation Church at a later date. Contributions can be made in his name to: Our Mother of Consolation Church, 9 East Chestnut Hill Ave., Phila., PA 19118
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