Samuel Harvey Winstead, 96, departed this life on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. He lived a long and very active life. Leasburg was his birthplace. He, and his seven younger siblings, were all born in the same house as their father. Very early he was taught how to raise crops of tobacco, wheat and corn and was expected to work alongside his father. When his father was not able to work, he and his brothers were expected to carry on the work of the farm.
Samuel’s parents, Harvey Thompson Winstead and Mary Emma (Watts) Winstead predeceased him. Of his seven siblings, five preceded him in death, Paul Edmund Winstead, Laura Brown Winstead (Webster), Archie Glenn Winstead, Therit Towles Winstead, and Betty Brooks Winstead (Bowes). His surviving siblings are Frances Watts Winstead (Rudder) of Roxboro and James (Jim) Wilson Winstead of Leasburg.
Samuel worked on the farm until the fall of 1942. Once the crop was in that year, he took the train from Semora to Newport News, Va. and worked in the shipyard there. He was guaranteed a deferment from military service if he would stay on there. After several months he came back to farm with his father in the spring of 1943. He received his notice from the draft board to report for a physical in June of 1943. His father, Harvey Winstead had him deferred until the crop was in that fall. At that time Sam went for his physical and joined the Marines. He was sent to Camp Lejeune where he was assigned to the Canine Corp or War Dog Unit. Marine Fritz, a large black Doberman Pinscher was assigned to him. He and Fritz served as scouts to locate the Japanese on Pavuvu, Peleliu, Okinawa, Guam and other locations in the South Pacific. He returned to the US just before Christmas of 1945 aboard the USS Merrick.
When he left for the Marines, he had not completed his last year of high school. Upon his return, he enrolled at Roxboro High, where he was on the cheerleading squad and completed the courses, he needed to earn his diploma. After graduating he tried selling insurance with a friend, but eventually came back to the farm to raise tobacco. This was his main occupation until the late 1960s when he started to phase out tobacco and got into raising beef cows. He learned to do stone masonry and also got his contractor’s license. His specialty was log cabins. He built several with beautiful stone chimneys and dismantled and reconstructed some old buildings as well.
He and his step-son Chris started a mowing business and had contracts with several North Carolina counties. He gradually retired except for maintenance around the farm. He enjoyed playing golf with his friends and he and Marie traveled to several international Rotary conventions. He was a member of the American Legion, VFW, Junior Order, Rotary Club, and active at Leasburg United Methodist Church.
In 2001 his grandson, Samuel Watts Janke, joined the National Guard with the idea of helping people in his own country. Unfortunately, with the disaster on 9/11 of that year he was treated like regular army and served in Kosovo and later in Iraq. His grandfather was very disturbed that after serving in World War II, the war to end all wars, his grandson was still having to go to war. Sam’s letters from Iraq inspired him to start his own non-profit. With the help of several friends, he started Sam’s Ride For Peace and decided to make a bicycle ride from the Capitol in Raleigh to Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C.
While he had remained physically active, he had not been on a bicycle in decades. He started training and sometimes rode 70 miles a day. He soon learned that he would not have to do it alone. Others joined him on the ride to Washington to meet with leaders and request that they put an end to wars. In all he participated in six rides. In his junior year, Sam’s great-grandson, Aidan Janke rode half the way with him and in his senior year, Aidan joined him for the whole ride.
Filmmaker, Ahmed F Selim, joined the riders and documented several of the rides. The quest for world peace was Samuel H. Winstead’s focus in his final years.
In 2013 he and his daughter Linda went to the Rotary International Peace Forum in Hiroshima, Japan. They spent 4 days in Hiroshima and two days at the Forum participating in discussions with the other participants from over 32 countries around the world. It was his hope that he could meet a Japanese veteran of World War II. However, one could not be found in the time we were there. The Peace Museum in Hiroshima chronicles the war for the Japanese people and displays sometimes gruesome reminders of the dropping of the atomic bombs during WWII. Samuel H. Winstead only made it through half of the museum before he sat down on a bench and told his daughter he could not look at any more of it. The reality of the Japanese experience in WWII was very graphic and very disturbing for him. He wanted more than ever to see war end for everyone on earth.
Samuel was married first to Jeannine Dare Whitlow. To this union were born two daughters, Ruth Carolyn Winstead, who preceded him in death and Mary Linda Winstead (Janke) who survives. Samuel and Jeannine also adopted a son, Ronald Watts Winstead, who died in 1985.
His second wife was Mary Susan Henley (Winstead). No children were born of this union.
Judith Ann Whitlow (Winstead) became his third wife. Ann preceded him in death. From this union he gained a step-daughter Kaye Taylor (Cain), (husband, Grady) of Clarksville, Va. and three stepsons, Jeff Taylor (husband, Jones Darnell) of Elkin, Chris Taylor (wife Cathy) of Leasburg and Jonathan Taylor (wife Wendy) of Danville, Va.
Samuel Duncan Winstead (Davis) was born in Durham to Samuel Harvey Winstead and Linda Marlowe (Shepherd). Samuel D.W. Davis, his wife Beth, and their six children live in Battle Creek, Mich.
Connie Eades (Winstead) was Samuel H Winstead’s fourth wife. There were no children born of this union.
Marie Carroll (Perkins) became the wife of Samuel in 2000. They remained married until his death. Samuel gained a step-son, John Long III of Providence and a stepdaughter Jessica Long (Anderson) of Bunn Level, when he married Marie. Marie treats all Sam’s children, stepchildren, and grandchildren as if they were hers. She is much loved.
Jackie Robinson Cates and his mother, Mary Breeze Jennings were employed by Samuel Winstead for many years. Jackie was very young when he started out handing leaves and driving slides in the tobacco fields. Sam recognized that he was intelligent and a hard worker and gave him responsibility accordingly, unofficially adopting him, and helping him with his college education. Jackie, his wife Denise, and their three children are considered members of the family. Sadly, Jackie’s son Jackie Christopher Cates predeceased Sam.
In addition to his children and step children Mr. Winstead is survived by 21 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, one great-great grandchild, and 13 nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be conducted Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021 at Leasburg United Methodist Church with the Rev. Ray Pearce officiating. The family will receive friends and guests for one hour prior to the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Ann Whitlow Winstead Scholarship Fund, please make checks payable to National Financial Services and reference Ann Whitlow Winstead on the memo line, 315 Semora Road, Roxboro, N.C. 27573.
Arrangements are by Strickland and Jones Memorial Funeral Services, 1810 Durham, Road, Roxboro, N.C. 27573. Online condolences may be made at stricklandandjonesfs.com.