Slain minister remembered as devoted father, husband |

Slain minister remembered as devoted father, husband

SELMER, Tenn. – Hundreds of mourners filled a small-town church to hear a slain minister eulogized as a devoted husband and father Tuesday while his wife sat in jail, accused of murder.The three young daughters of 31-year-old Matthew Winkler followed his flower-covered casket into the Fourth Street Church of Christ, where he had been minister for almost a year.Church members found Winkler’s body in the bedroom of the parsonage on Wednesday. Authorities said his wife, Mary Winkler, 32, confessed to shooting him and told them why she did it. But they have refused to disclose the motive.Church members have said they saw nothing but a loving relationship between husband and wife.About 500 people attended the service or watched it on TV monitors in the basement, Police Chief Neal Burks said. Eddie Thompson, one of two ministers leading the service, did not mention Mary Winkler by name or describe the slaying.”He just said we’re puzzled. That’s the word he used, ‘puzzled,”‘ said Barbara Letson of Decatur, Ala., who attended the funeral, which was closed to reporters.Letson’s son, Doug, who went to high school with Matthew Winkler, struggled to hold back tears when describing his friend, saying, “You couldn’t ask for a better guy.”Family friend Lenora Thompson said Mary Winkler had been “a good wife.””She’s been a good mother, a loving member of the church,” Thompson said.Matthew Winkler was a third-generation minister in the Church of Christ. His father, Dan Winkler, also officiated at the funeral in Selmer, a town of about 4,400 people 80 miles east of Memphis.Winkler was buried about 60 miles north in Huntingdon.”Our family isn’t the first to go through something like this,” Dan Winkler said at the graveside service. “King David lost two sons at the hands of others. God himself knows what this is like.”Vail, Colorado

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