Mar 28, 2006

Matthew Winkler Funeral Draws 500 Mourners

Left: Flower-draped casket of Matthew Winkler gets carried by pallbearers into the Fourth Street Church of Christ (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

(Selmer, TN) A crowd of 500 mourners gathered at the church of slain minister Matthew Winkler today to pay their last respects to the man.

No members of the news media were allowed inside the church, and plice cordoned off several blocks to prevent unauthorized persons from disturbing the memorial service.

Those who attended the funeral said that Matthew Winkler was eulogized as a devoted husband and father.

The couple's young daughters were among the family members who followed Winkler's casket into the church for the service, said Selmer Police Chief Neal Burks.

Burks said that many people watched the service from the church sanctuary or on TV monitors in the basement of the building.

"Upstairs is full and the downstairs is full," he said.

The name of Mary Winkler, the wife and alleged killer of the later minister, was not mentioned during the service. Attendees said that eulogist Eddie Thompson only referred to the "puzzle" surrounding the death of Matthew Winkler.

Addendum, 11:33 PM: An anonymous poster to this site indicated that Mary Winkler was mentioned during the service by Matthew Winkler's father, Dan. The elder Mr. Winkler reportedly "spoke of the love his family feels for Mary."


Minister's Wife said...

I haven't had a story catch my attention as this one has but it does give me an opportunity to say that this may be one more way of showing the world what goes on behind the clergy walls.

Anonymous said...

Like what?

historymike said...

Agreed, minister's wife. This mysterious saga hits home for many people in a way that trials like that of OJ Simpson or the Menendez brothers never could.

Here was a seemingly ideal American family that was inexplicably ripped apart. The underlying fear is that if this sort of tragedy can happen to the Winklers in Selmer, TN, then it could happen to anyone.

And that, dear friends, is a very scary thought.

GRM in Knoxville said...

Mike - would be curious to read any comments you might have to ssome of the quotes in this story --

GRM in Knoxville said...

Oops -- cut off...last part of address is "603280312/1002" SOrry

Anonymous said...

Mary Winkler was mentioned during the service by Matthew Winkler's father. He spoke of the love his family feels for Mary. It was a very loving and heartfelt service.

historymike said...

Here's a link to the Jackson Sun article grm referenced.

My first thought is that the people who were interviewed seem to be models of forgiveness. I hope that I could be so forgiving in a tragedy such as that faced by the Winklers. No matter how close I might have been to a relative, I would have a hard time keeping from grabbing a Louisville Slugger and smacking them. Hard.

The detective part of me, though, keeps thinking that everyone is WAAAAY too nice. Is there some sort of bargain being struck here? Is everyone trying so hard to be "forgiving" to Mary just to protect the reputation of Matthew?

Please forgive me if I seem callous and cynical. I grew up in Detroit, and every conceivable act of human depravity has already happened in Detroit at least a dozen times.

I should also note that my father was a homicide detective in Detroit in the 1970s and 1980s. I am sure that I inherited some of my tendency toward skepticism from my dad.

historymike said...

Thanks also to the anonymous poster who brought the information about Mary's name. The rest of the wires services did not have that fact.

historymike said...

I have added the relayed information about Dan Winkler mentioning Mary at the service. It appears as an addendum to this post.

Gallagher said...

Mike, it is ok to be cynical sometimes. Christians should be forgiving people and forgiveness is a tough trait. I believe this shows their character. I knew Matthew and his family and I can say this forgiveness is not a show it is genuine.

Anonymous said...

I have been in this church for years. Yes, they really are forgiving people. They don't hold past sins over people's heads. If they "seem" way too forgiving, it is just that their grief is focused on their loss right now. That family does live what they preach. The press seems to have diffulty digging up resentment and anger,don't they?

McCaskey said...

HM, I enjoy your site, as I've stated so several times. I have to admit to be shaking my head over your fascination with this story. All these posts in the last few days about this one incident, mysterious as it may be? I don't find multitudes of people discussing this by the water cooler..maybe it's just me.

historymike said...

Hi McCaskey:

Yes, I became keenly interested in this case.

The story is equal parts tragedy, mystery, and horror story, and I think the thought that this seemingly ideal American family could so quickly implode is what made it so compelling to me.

I have to admit, though, that the 8-10,000 hits a day my site has been generating was also a bit of a rush (my site on average generates about 500-600 hits a day).

My attention was also driven by the realization that the major search engines ranked my site between #1 and #8 for searches on the case (depending on the engine and the way words get typed).

Ultimately for me, though, the case is like one of those awful accidents that you can't stop looking at.

The American public seems as glued to this story as any crime saga in recent memory.

I did vow to myself today that I would post no Winkler informaton unless something new happened.

Anonymous said...

The Winklers are a great example of God's love and Matthew's grandfather, dad, and Matthew as well have brought so many to Christ. It's truly not an act with these people, they are genuine Christians. THe world could learn many lessons from watching them - from what they say as well as to what they don't say. My prayers are with the Winkler family as well as Mary's.

mike said...

Mary Winkler has confessed. Why wait for a grand jury to hear evidence before going on with trial.
Let's get on with it and get some closure.

Anonymous said...

this is a true tragedy but america needs to OPRN THERE EYES THESE CULTS DISQUISED themselves as "CHURCHES"

Anonymous said...

This is in no way a cult, only the church that is talked about in the bible.

IdahoMike said...

I've followed this blog with interest. Being raised in an extremely legalistic C of C congregation increased my interest - partly because of the destruction that ravaged the families that made up the congregation that I grew up in.

I no longer have animosity towards this denomination (or non-denomination), but I do have a sensitivity to the destructive power of a works based faith where everyone and everything is judged by an outward appearance of holiness. Often what lies behind the facade isn't so nice and tidy and the pressure to appear as though you have it all together does little to offset the internal pressure. Many families simply buckle under the pressure.
(Jeffrey Dahmer's history is a case in point.)

I truly do hope, for the sake of the family and the local church, that nothing darker and more sinister than what already has transpired has taken place behind the facade, but if it has I hope it comes to light.

Anonymous said...

thank you mike for a great blog site!!!! tears are flowing from the heavens as well as across the states. This is such a tragedy, the Winkler's have endured. Of all the blogs and newspaper articles that I've read, as well as, medical duress stuff, will I ever believe that Mary intentionally shot her husband to death? No. Too many un answered questions - still remain. PS: I was once upon a time, married to a man who believed he was"GOD"- so much so, that he took it upon himself, to malnipulate everyone around him. I chose to walk away. I will pray for Mary and her children, so they too, find the strength and peace, they deserve, to pull them through this horrible situation.

historymike said...

Thank you for the compliments.

I, too, feel as though I know this family, and the horror of what happened tears at my heart. The idea that those children could be without their mother AND father is probably what most disturbs me.

Anonymous said...

The church of christ is not a cult. Christ established the church. The church is his body, he is the head. The church follows the bible. The set up, is that Christ is the head, the elders which are the overseers, are next, then the deacons who are the servants, etc. All of this can be found in the new testament. Music is not played because it is not mentoned in the new testament. It states to sing psalms hymns making melody in your hearts. Please go back and read the entire new testament. You will then see why the church of christ does what they do. And please don't get the old testament and the new testament confused. There is a reason for the old covernant and the new covernant.

Connie said...

Calling the Lord's Church a "cult" is so far from the truth. Everything done in the Church is scriptural.... nothing added, nothing removed. There is an excellent book by Leroy Brownlow, entitled "Why I am a member of the Curch of Christ" and I hope that those with curious minds will study this book, as it provides accurate information regarding the Church along with supporting scripture.

arkansas surfdog said...

i have read with more than a little interest here.
being raised in the C o C, i feel free from the burden of its strict doctrine and closed mindedness.

the information they operate on is out of date and there is no mechanism for change. it's patriachal and allows males to be domineering and out of touch.

i can imagine many scenarios within that family that could have culminated in this act as so many others can.

i like to refer to my background in rural arkansas growing up attending the church of christ in this way:

i grew up where there is one finger thumping the bible and the another finger is on the trigger."

i never imagined this scenario would manifest my cliche.


Anonymous said...

I also have been intrigued by this story. I was raised in church and as a Christian know only Christ is perfect, so we should not judge, but being human, we often do. It is easy for each of us to sit back and offer reasons this may have happened, but only Mary knows. Hopefully, the truth will come out, but the important thing is that the children are shielded from as much pain as possible.

mike mordant said...

"This is in no way a cult, only the church that is talked about in the bible."

That statement is not really historically accurate.

The churches of Christ have been in existance less than 150 years and were not formally recognised as such until about 1906. (I'm working from memory here so my dating may not be accurate). The coC springs from the Stone-Campbell branch of the restoration movment despite the fact that members are taught that it is "the New Testement Church". In fact it is virtually historyless and stands apart from historical Christianity.

There is a church with a very good claim on being the church meantioned in the bible. The Syriac Othordox Church can trace it's roots directly to the "Church At Antioch" which is meantioned in the New Testiment and the Jerusalem branch meet's in the Apostle Mark's historic house.

The chuch of Christ can make no such claim.

Anonymous said...

There is once a priest with the middle name Winkler: Alexander Winkler Bealer, III.