October 01, 2015

Class of 2015 Graduate Dies in Car Accident

Beloit lost one of its most recent graduates in a car accident in Northern Wisconsin in September.

Darth Winkler Darth Winkler’15, a 22-year-old from Lewistown, Ill., died on Sept. 2, 2015, in Hayward, Wis.

The college community struggled to absorb this sad news just days after classes reconvened in the fall.

A creative writing major and proud member of Sigma Chi fraternity, Winkler was a gifted athlete who played linebacker for the Buccaneer football team and competed in track and field
in discus.

Winkler arrived on campus in 2011, sporting what would become his signature bleached-blond mohawk hairstyle. At a memorial service held in Eaton Chapel on Sept. 20, several of his fraternity brothers showed solidarity by wearing blond mohawks. Winkler was remembered as a great friend, teammate, and fraternity brother. Two of his teachers talked about his kind demeanor and unfailing respect: Though they insisted it wasn’t necessary, he persisted in calling them “ma’am.”

At the service, Professor Fran Abbate’90 (English) read several of Winkler’s poems, which focused mainly on his family, friends, nature, and his hometown. Abbate noted that his writing included “all of the virtues that he admired and embodied: honor, courage, love, and a word you don’t hear that often anymore: chivalry.”

The college is creating two tributes to Winkler. The throwing arena at Strong Stadium is being dedicated in his name and Sigma Chi is in the process of placing a memorial at the fraternity house.

Contributions may be made online at www.beloit.edu/giving/givenow.


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  • Deprived: The Lost 1982 NFL Season

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  • O. V. Schaffer’50

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