When I first met Winn, I could see how my husband, Herb Shields, would have such a tender fondness and respect for her. Ever steady, kind and welcoming, she would end every meeting together with the question, “When are you coming to see me?” I enjoyed the occasions when we spoke over the phone to catch up on family news. Most of the times we met in person were with the family gathered around. This was when Winn was at her most happy and active, caring for her treasured children and grandchildren, and drawing in her nephew Herb as well as our family. She has been a steady, graceful, kind constant during her time here on Earth. I always found her quiet and measured voice a comfort and delight. Winn’s eldest daughter, Myra, so graciously invited us to be part of the extended family in Seattle, when we moved to Kent 34 years ago. I was delighted and surprised to be invited to the family Thanksgiving at Shelton, Washington, on the shores of the unique and lovely Puget Sound. Winn was busily ironing sheets for the guest beds! She wanted the cotton so soft and fresh! Coming from a large, busy family, I am accustomed to the bustle of meal preparation and “all hands on deck” cooking. It was very clear that Winn was the Captain of the Ship, though there was no conflict or confusion. Her dear mother, Grandmother Myra, sharing the lovely home with all her clan and some extras, was also going here and there to attend to various details.
She was carefully guided by Winn and daughter Myra and all the dishes and olives and silverware and salad made it to the table on time! I had my little toddler Joe and baby Joshua to care for and very little was asked of me, but it was a joy to be part of it all and pitch in where I could. Outside on the sandy banks of the property, taking the little ones to spot jelly fish floating by or having a short ride in the row boat were big thrills. Winn loved it all, right in the center of the comings and goings. She showed me where the binoculars were so we would be sure to spot the herons and seals; there was never a dull moment. Saying grace around the dinner table, a moment of reverent peace settled us all to enjoy the beautiful feast of love prepared by happy hands. After dinner the little ones sat on the floor while we played games, Brenna and Megan had fun playing with the babies to help them enjoy the game as well. Such a golden and sustaining memory is made possible on the foundation of Winn’s caring and inclusive heart, so forgiving and enduring. She loved her teaching, and giving us updates on students and performances, and when it was time to move on, she laid it down, let it go and was so very happy to be closer to her daughter’s new lives in the Puget Sound Area. There was no news better to her than the updates on their lives and the very beloved grandchildren and great grandchildren. I am so blessed by you all that we have shared some time together and thank you for sharing your kind mother with us, the family of Herb and Katherine Shields