“Elder Richard H. Winkel Of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1999, 114
Elder Richard H. Winkel of the Second Quorum of the Seventy attributes much of his strong testimony to the influence of his family as well as to a lifetime of missionary experiences. He says his two years spent as a young missionary in Chile were particularly influential.
Elder Winkel arrived there in 1962, not long after the Chilean Mission was organized. There he witnessed the gospel take root as Chileans eagerly embraced its restored doctrines.
He recalls one young family he contacted. “I baptized the wife and worked with the husband in the Scouting program,” he says. “I wrote in my journal that I felt someday the husband would join the Church.”
Twenty years later Elder Winkel received a telephone call from two sister missionaries in Amarillo, Texas. They had met the couple, who had immigrated to the United States and now had five children. The wife was no longer active, they said, but she recalled the name Elder Winkel. “They wanted me to call this couple and bear my testimony to them after they heard the first discussion, and I did that,” says Elder Winkel. “We were all thrilled to have a reunion over the telephone.” A few weeks later he flew to Amarillo and baptized the husband and children.
Elder Winkel, born on 17 May 1942 in Oakland, California, earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Pepperdine University. While attending BYU he met Karen Hart, and they were married 31 August 1966 in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of nine children and live in Provo, Utah.
Elder Winkel’s father established a lumber business, Beaver Lumber, in California’s Bay Area, and Elder Winkel followed in his footsteps, buying a mill in Arcata, California. Seven of his children were actively involved in the business as they grew up, working in the summers and on weekends. “We all say we have a little sawdust under our fingernails,” he says.
Elder Winkel has served as a bishop, stake president, and president of the Spain Madrid Mission. “I love the gospel, I love the Savior, and I love the prophet,” he says. “I am happy to serve whenever and however I am called. I have always known the gospel is true, and my testimony has grown and grown.”