Dr. Gordon D. Winchel ’41 died on May 9, 2018, in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
(The following was originally published in the Boston Globe on May 20, 2018):
Dr. Gordon D. Beloved Family Doctor, Advocate for Peace and Conservationist Dr. Gordon D. Winchell of Lincoln, ninety-eight, died peacefully on May 9, just three months after his beloved wife Enid, in his home overlooking Farrar Pond. He was surrounded by members of his family as his daughter sang “Oh, Shenandoah.” A World War II veteran, peace activist and beloved family doctor for nearly forty years, Gordon was born on November 29, 1919, to Evelyn and Guilbert Winchell in Belmont. At the age of five, he moved with his siblings, Guilbert, Richard and Dorothy, to a house built by their parents on Farrar Pond in Lincoln, with a large vegetable garden, and a variety of dogs, chickens, pigs, two horses and a cow or two. Gordon attended the Lincoln Public Schools and Concord High School. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1941 and from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1944. After a Medical Corps internship at the Naval Hospital in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, he served as a medical officer with the US Navy on the Pacific Island of Saipan. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the West Roxbury Veterans Hospital, and later served as a medical officer in the Korean War. Gordon met his future wife, Enid Clarke, a World War II British evacuee, in 1940 when she was visiting a fellow British schoolgirl staying with the Winchells. Gordon first declared his romantic interest by handing Enid a dozen roses as she boarded a ship back to England in 1944. Following a transatlantic courtship, Enid and Gordon were married in Surrey, England, on April 16, 1949. After several years in Lexington, Massachusetts, Gordon returned to Lincoln with Enid in 1954 to set up a primary care practice. He was the first physician to open a Lincoln practice in forty years and became the first board-certified Internist at Emerson Hospital, where he practiced medicine for thirty-six years. He was joined in 1959 by Dr. Charles Keevil Jr., and by Dr. Lynn Weigel in 1988. In the spring of 1965, the young family moved to Gordon’s boyhood home on Farrar Pond to care for his aging father. Gordon shared his adventurous spirit and love of the family land with his four children, teaching them how to negotiate thin ice on skates. He continued to ski, skate, garden, and wield a chainsaw well into his nineties. Gordon was a conservationist at heart, preserving open land, maintaining conservation trails along Farrar Pond, and serving for many years as the president of the Farrar Pond Association. In 1966, Gordon built a medical office abutting the Winchell family property. He believed in small primary care practices closely tied to their surrounding communities, and he made house calls right up to his retirement at the age of seventy. Gordon was also the covering physician at MIT Lincoln Labs and an active member of the American Medical Association and the Massachusetts Medical Society. He helped found Emerson Hospital’s laboratory and blood bank and served as president of the Emerson Hospital medical staff and as chairman of their Medical Ethics Committee. Gordon and Enid were vocal members of Beyond War, and he was active in both Physicians for Social Responsibility and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. For Lincoln’s Fourth of July parades, Gordon and Enid created floats with their children and grandchildren, festooning them with flowers and messages of peace. In 1988, Gordon was listed by Boston Magazine as one of the twenty-five top primary care physicians in the Boston area. Two years later, Gordon received the Community Clinician of the Year Award in 2000 from the Middlesex Central District Medical Society and the Massachusetts Medical Society. In that same year, he accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from The First Parish in Lincoln “for all you have given and continue to give to the people of the Town of Lincoln, to Emerson Hospital and to the well-being of this, your church…(and) for being such a steady and passionate advocate for nuclear disarmament, for an end to war, and for peace and justice for all the families of the earth.” He was an active member of the First Parish Peace and Justice Committee and sang for years in the choir, once singing the booming voice of God. Gordon loved singing folk songs, family songs, and enjoyed listening to classical music, often conducting with his arms or feet in the last months of his life. When asked if he wanted to sing a song the day before he died, he replied, “I’m always ready to sing a song,” and so he was. Gordon is survived by his sons William and Fred, of Lincoln; son Gordon Jr. in Portland, Maine; and daughter Meg of Moorestown, New Jersey; and their spouses; as well as by his nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He will be remembered with devotion and love by friends and family as a compassionate and gifted doctor. His innate sense of gratitude and curiosity for life were a gift to all who knew him.