Rae Jane Winks, 87, passed away Friday, July 3, 2009, in Hemet with her daughters, Robyn and Wendy Winks, by her side.

Rae was born Nellie Jane Ramiller in Williams, Minn., on Jan. 30, 1922. She grew up on a small farm with her parents and six siblings.

She left home as a young woman and enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) during WWII. She was promoted to sergeant and met a young ace fighter pilot named Bob Winks, whom she later married. They headed west to California in 1950 and started a family.

Rae was a career homemaker (such as artist, negotiator, teacher, master chef, strategic planner, seamstress, designer, taxi driver, doctor and hostess). She won the admiration of her family and friends by juggling what seemed like the whole world with apparent ease and grace.

As her children grew, she returned to college to get her real estate license and an interior design certificate. All her talents and knowledge were put to work to improve the home she created for her family.

Rae will be remembered for her fiery Irish wit and creative flare. In her later years, Alzheimer’s stole her memory, but not her enduring sense of humor and the love in her heart. She continued to endear everyone around her with her sparkling blue eyes, humor and uncommon warmth of spirit.

At age 87, the “teaching” afforded from her life on this planet seems to be one of hard work, tenacity, appreciation of beauty, creativity, chocolate chip ice cream, and the healing power of reading to anyone who would listen, “A Prairie Home Companion, Pretty Good Joke Book” (revised and expanded edition, forward by Garrison Keillor).

Rae will be greatly missed by all who knew her, especially daughters Wendy Winks of Santa Monica and Robyn (Jim Crandall) Winks of Idyllwild; and a brother, Frank (Kathleen) Ramiller of Mount Morris, Mich. Her husband, Bob Winks, preceded her in death in May 2008.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, Ill. 60601-7633.