Erie Gay Winkler

On a winter day, the 21st of December 1934, a beautiful baby girl named Erie Gay was born to George Franklin and Elfa Mae Greene Smitherman in the Beaver Dam community.

Erie Gay was a wonderful, kind, loving, and giving daughter, sister, niece, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunt her entire life.

Erie Gay was always showing love by giving to her family and others. She visited or called to spend time with her parents every day. As a young mother, she washed a pink dress every night for her 3 year old daughter, so that Teresa could wear that pink dress every day thus installing in Teresa her love of wearing pink. From the time that her son was 3 years old until he was 8, she would make gravy for George every night for supper since George would refuse to eat without her special gravy.

Erie Gay was a fabulous southern cook. Her butterscotch pies were a favorite with the entire extended family. Nieces and nephews would also fight for who took home the leftovers. Finally, Aunt Erie decided to make a butterscotch pie for each niece and nephew to take home whenever the whole family was together. Those butterscotch pies were the food high point of every big family meal!

As Salutarian for the Bethel High School class of 1951, Erie Gay went on to become one of the first employees at IRC/TRW. She retired after working for IRC/ TRW for 35 years.

In the community, Erie Gay was best known for her involvement and commitment to the Order of the Eastern Star. She joined Snow Chapter shortly after marrying Dick Winkler. She served in many offices including Worthy Matron. Erie Gay was the leading force in in changing the name of the Boone Chapter to Hope Chapter number 1 since her Grandmother-in-law, Belle Winkler, was one of the founding members of the first chapter in North Carolina. Erie Gay received her 50 year pin for the Eastern Star.

Erie Gay will leave a hole in the hearts her children George and Teresa; grandchildren Jeremy, Jessica, and Tristen; great-grandchildren Ross, Dresden, Harrison, and Eli; sister Georgia; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. This hole will not be filled until she greets each one of us as we enter Heaven in the future.

Erie Gay passed away at 3:30 in morning on November 6. She fought death and waited until her great-grandson Dresden finished celebrating his birthday on November 5 to remind us that life and death go together.

George and Teresa would like to thank Amy Townsend and the staff at the Foley Center for the wonderful and loving care that they gave our Mother for the last 19 months. Additionally, we would like to thank Shelton Caldwell, Courtney Barker, Sierra Wilcox, Roger Newton, and the staff at Caldwell Hospice for their care and support.

Funeral services for Erie Gay Winkler will be conducted Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 2 PM at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home. Burial will follow in the Winkler Cemetery. Due to Covid-19 pandemic those attending are asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in memory of Erie Gay Smitherman Winkler be made to Hope Chapter number 1 of the Order of the Eastern Star. Memorials should be mailed to 4268 US Hwy 421N, Vilas, NC 28692.

Online condolences may be shared with the Winkler family at

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Winkler family.

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