Richard Winkelmann — Rochester

The Mayo Clinic’s Richard K. Winkelmann passed away on Aug. 16 quietly and comfortably surrounded by family at the age of 88.

Known as "Wink" to his many friends, his impressive career stands out as iconic. During his highly productive career, Wink authored and published over 800 scholarly articles and published 6 books. He was on the International Committee of Dermatology for 15 years. Wink was a devoted husband and family man as well as a true polymath. He loved classical music, crossword puzzles, and tennis; but his voracious appetite for books occupied most of his spare time.

Dr. Richard Knisely Winkelmann was born July 12, 1924 in Akron, Ohio. He attended college at the University of Akron before entering the U.S. Army in 1943. After basic training he was sent for ASTP training in premed at the University of Michigan. Dr. Winkelmann earned his medical degree from the University of Marquette, School of Medicine and went on to do research in anatomy and chemistry. He continued his training with a fellowship in Dermatology at Mayo Clinic.

Wink always said that the brightest day in his life came when he met Anne Mary Robertson at the Rochester Tennis Club. At that time Anne was the executive secretary of the Rochester Art Center. They were married in 1952. This year, 2012, they celebrated their 60th anniversary in April. Wink leaves behind his beloved wife Anne and their four children: Richard Lowell (Becky), John Curtis (Jeannine), Lisa Anne (Jerome) and Susan Elizabeth (Brad). They have four grandchildren: William, Paul, Richard and Katherine. He was preceded in death by his sister Elizabeth Morrissett.

Wink received a Ph.D. in Dermatology/Pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1956, the same year he joined the Mayo Clinic staff. He was a distinguished member of the Mayo Clinic staff from 1956 to 1994. Dr. Winkelmann was a professor of Dermatology at Mayo Clinic and also the first recipient of the Robert H. Kieckhefer Dermatology Chair. He was the Chairman of the Department of Dermatology from 1970 to 1975. He helped found the Society of Dermapathology and was President of the organization in 1977. He also has served as president of the Society of Investigative Dermatology and many other dermatological organizations. Additionally, he held a Professorship in Anatomy. He is a member of 18 foreign dermatological societies including the Royal College of Physicians (London).

Dr. Winkelmann’s clinical and scholarly work contributed to many different areas of dermatology and dermatopathology. He recognized and described several unique skin diseases. One of these was later named "Winkelmann Granuloma" in his honor. While always priding himself as primarily a clinician, he has authored more than 800 papers and six books. At 65, he joined the Department of Dermatology at Mayo Clinic Arizona (Scottsdale).

Retiring to Fountain Hills, Ariz., and Marine on St. Croix, Minn., he had taken on the study of algae and served as a research professor in the Department of Plant Biology at Arizona State University. While spending summers in Marine on St. Croix, he became a visiting scientist at the St. Croix Watershed Station/Science Museum of Minnesota. In 2005, Dr. Winkelmann was named as a Distinguished Alumnus of the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine School of Medicine for his contributions to Dermatology and Medicine.

Wink was truly a remarkable and gifted original. He was never happier than reading a book surrounded by family. He also invented the Winkeltini.

There will be a memorial service at Charter House in Rochester on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 10:30 a.m. followed by a casual reception. The family prefers memorials to the Mayo Clinic in lieu of flowers.