PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend Police Reserve Sgt. Dave Winegar, badge number 829, was remembered at his memorial as a man who lived a life of public service and a father who loved his children.
Winegar suffered a fatal heart attack at his home Dec. 22. He was 50 years old.
Winegar is the father of three children: Nico, 17; Nate, 11; and Ashlee Bahl who followed in her father’s footsteps and is a police officer with the Chaska, Minn. Police Department.
On Friday, members of the Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Poulsbo and Issaquah police departments; Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office; State Patrol; East Jefferson Fire Rescue and other service agencies formed a procession of more than 50 vehicles that made their way through the streets of Port Townsend from Haines Place, driving past the police department to Fort Worden where more than 200 people attended the two-hour memorial.
A small procession carrying family members drove by the Jefferson County Courthouse at 1820 Jefferson St., where Winegar worked in information technology.
The streets that needed traffic control during the event were staffed by volunteers from the city of Port Townsend, the police department, and the sheriff’s office to allow local law enforcement to attend the ceremony.
Prior to the gathering, several uniformed service members shared thoughts of Winegar.
Detective Patrick Fudally remembered him as a valued member of the department.
“Dave was a reserve officer for over 18 years for us,” Fudally said. “He kept the community safe, picked up the slack and covered the road for us.
“Other times, he’d put in 80 hours a month. Reserves don’t get paid that much and he’s out here doing it for the community. This was on top of a full time work with the county in information services and being a fulltime father.
“He meant a lot to us.”
Sheriff Joe Nole said members of his department wanted to show respect and sorrow after losing one of their own.
”We’ve known him for years and this is our way of saying goodbye,” Nole said.
Lieutenant Chris Kauzlarich with East Jefferson Fire Rescue said department personnel attended the memorial to support of Winegar’s family.
“We’ve worked with Dave both on the law enforcement side and with the county IT department. I’ve know him for 20 years,” Kauzlarich said.
”This is close to our hearts at East Jefferson.”
At the beginning of the service, Officers Drew Radford, Mark Dumond, Jeremy Vergin and Nate Holmes served as the honor guard and escorted the urn bearing Winegar’s remains.
The memorial was led by County Commissioner Kate Dean, Winegar’s sister-in-law who remarked “for a quiet guy, Dave touched a lot of lives.
“Look around. There are hundreds of people in this room who worked with him, sat in the bleachers at countless sporting events with him, responded to radio calls and emergencies with him. Take in the love and support we have in this room. It’s astounding.”
Colleague Sara McIntyre who sat next to Winegar at Jefferson County in information technology for 16 years, described his quiet but humorous side and said most people didn’t know how to pronounce his name. She listed several variations that had been heard over the years.
“We called him 829. We all called him family,” McIntyre said.
Sergeant Garin Williams said Winegar was “top shelf, one to keep around. He took pride in being a police officer.”
Williams said that the Port Townsend Police Department is a small agency and “it was always nice to have 829 call in for service.”
Chief Michael Evans provided an emotional eulogy, citing his close friendship with Winegar for over 20 years.
“Dave loved being a father and we were both stay-at-home dads for awhile,” Evans said.
He said Winegar “had the warrior spirit” and protected not only the community but his fellow officers.
“Dave was there for me,” Evans said. “He helped me get through my problems. He wore the badge and he loved being a cop.
“That spirit that is Dave is still with us. And in me.”
Winegar, who was born on June 26, 1968 in Kansas City, Kansas to Karen Hampton Idstorm and Jerome Clark Winegar, grew up in Minnesota and Massachusetts. His first child was born in 1989 with his partner, Susan Luke, in Minnesota. In 1996, he moved to Colorado and married his former wife, Anne Dean, with whom he had two children.
He arrived in Port Townsend in 2001. At his death, he had lived for eight years with partner Heather La Due and her daughters, Celinda, Ashton and Auguste.
In addition to his children, former wife and partners, Winegar is survived by his mother and stepfather Karen and Tom Idstrom, his stepmother Bel Winegar, his brother Jonathan Winegar-Mendez, nieces Allison Radziej and Caitlin Federici, nephew Seth Koestler and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. According to his obituary, his memory also will be celebrated by his former spouse and her family including Mary Dean, William and Christine Dean, Kate Dean, Will O’Donnell, Rennie and Finn O’Donnell, and Liz, Jacob, Freya and Maren Covey. Preceding him in death was his father Jerome Clark Winegar and sister Kristin Koestler.
Winegar’s patrol car was parked in sight of those attending the service. At the conclusion of the memorial, the Final Call Out of Duty was played from JeffCom Dispatch 911.
“Status? Jeffcom, 829 status?
Jeffcom, all city and county units priority traffic.
Jeffcom, 829, Officer David Winegar, valued officer, father, and member of our community, out of service. 829 God Speed. You will be missed.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]