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Reverend Thomas Stanton Winter
September 6, 1944-February 24, 2022
Tom was born in Mobile, Alabama, on September 6, 1944, and passed away at his home in Helena, Alabama, on February 24, 2022 after a 2-year cancer journey. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Patti, his son Mark and daughter-in-law Lisa, along with their children Blake and Jenna, his daughter Rachel and her fur baby Rosie. He is also survived by his two brothers, Kenneth and his wife Callie, and Ross and his wife Donna, his sister-in-law Betsy and her husband Bill, along with dear nieces and nephews and other family members, and a host of beloved friends.
After graduating from Murphy High School in Mobile, Tom attended Auburn University. He always said that he wasn’t the best student, but while at Auburn he met his future wife, Patti, and felt his call to social justice and ministry while living in the student housing at First Presbyterian Church of Auburn (where their son was later baptized, and their daughter later served as an associate pastor). Tom honed his call to social justice in Auburn while working with Head Start and working with the Poor People’s Campaign, and he soon began his journey to ministry when he graduated from Auburn and attended Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA.
Tom graduated from Union in 1973 and was called to First Presbyterian Church in Atmore, AL. The family later moved to Birmingham, where Tom was called to be the associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church. Tom helped the church imagine a homeless shelter for women in the church’s basement, which has now evolved into the First Light Women’s Shelter in downtown Birmingham. Tom served as the pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Homewood for over 20 years, then served as stated supply pastor for First Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, AL, and Springville Presbyterian Church in Springville, AL. In his final years of ministry, Tom served as the Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley.
Tom helped younger pastors in navigating ministry life, challenged the presbytery not to overlook the ministry that very small churches could provide, encouraged everyone to hear the voices of those often overlooked and on the margins. He knew how to sit with those who were grieving, as he did with close family friends during the last weeks of his own life. He was a mentor and friend. He was stubborn, feisty, and obstinate. He was funny and faithful. He was loving and kind. He treated everyone as a child of God and loved them as such. Since he grew up on Mobile Bay, Tom loved to fish and eat seafood, and he loved teaching his son how to fish. He was very picky about his seafood, and he cooked it well. Tom loved to spend time outside grilling all kinds of meat. He loved to watch the Atlanta Braves, and was thrilled that they won the World Series in the last few months of his life. Let’s hope he works his magic to take the Auburn Tigers to the Final Four in the next few weeks!
Tom was all of these things, but most of all, Tom was a family person. He didn’t grow up with the easiest father, so he was determined to be a great husband, father, and grandfather. He got better with each one! He was so proud of his wife, who also served in ministry. He would do anything for his children, a teacher and a minister. He supported them in anything they did in life—from childhood to adulthood. And his proudest role in life was as “Papa.” He loved his grandchildren, Blake and Jenna, more than anything else in the world, and he was created to be a Papa. He also loved the many dogs his family had in their life, and did not like a house without one. We will all miss him dearly.
A memorial service will be held at 2pm, Friday, March 11th, at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, where friends and family will gather in Grace Hall following the service. We are deeply grateful to our dear family friend, Mary Clyde Teague, who helped our family so much in the final weeks of Dad’s life. We are also thankful for the lovely folks at Encompass Hospice in Clanton, who helped us navigate the last two months of this hard journey. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to First Light Women’s Shelter at, Greater Birmingham Ministries at, or Living River: A Retreat on the Cahaba at

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