Alan Winslow, 1922-2020

Posted on Posted in Patchwork History

Alan Winslow died Monday, March 30. He was 97 years old.

He never considered himself to be a Patchwork Central founder, but he was here from the beginning.

There are many great Alan stories. Here’s one as told to me: In the 1980’s during the Cold War, a group of Patchworkers came up with a great idea. It would be part art happening, part protest, part community witness. They would go to a field on a dark night and stand in the shape of a giant peace sign while holding flashlights pointed skyward. A Russian spy satellite would fly over and capture their message of world peace.

The path of the spy satellite was key to the plan. Someone needed to make a phone call, so of course Alan agreed to do it. Alan called the CIA to ask when a Russian spy satellite would fly over Evansville, Indiana so Patchwork could shine a peace symbol at it. The CIA wasn’t helpful, but the event happened anyway. There’s photographic evidence on the wall at Patchwork.

To me, the story defines what Alan did for Patchwork. If there was a difficult phone call to make, if there was an unusual question to ask, if someone needed to volunteer when no one else dared, if someone needed to sound calm and cool to get something done, if someone needed to look out for the group, if someone needed to figure out how to make wild dreams happen, Alan was there.

He found funding so Patchwork’s founders could have health insurance. He led numerous committees to help keep Patchwork financially stable. He helped many people follow their dreams and start their own small business through the Neighborhood Economic Development Center. He provided solid support for young leaders who came to Patchwork through the Mennonite Voluntary Service and AmeriCorps. He provided the incentive behind many big Patchwork parties held both for fun and for fundraising. He lived in and cared about the neighborhood where Patchwork is located. He was always there to offer his assistance. He never stopped learning.

Alan lived a remarkable life, and he will be deeply missed.

Alan wanted his memorial service to be a big party, so it will be held at a future date when large gatherings are advisable. His obituary can be found here.

Photo above by Calvin Kimbrough, taken in the 1980’s when Alan worked at Patchwork in the Neighborhood Economic Development Center.

This video was created by Scott Adams in 2017 for Patchwork’s party celebrating Alan’s 95th birthday and Patchwork’s 40th anniversary.

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