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Lions Club honors Winona Alder as Bluebonnet Parade grand marshal

Lions Club honors Winona Alder as Bluebonnet Parade grand marshal
PASCALLE BIPPERT This year’s Bluebonnet Parade grand marshal is Winona Alder. The catamaran depicted in her painting belonged to her husband, Albert.

Winona Alder has been chosen by the La Vernia Lions Club to be the grand marshal for the 38th annual Bluebonnet Parade this Saturday, May 21, through La Vernia.

With her community contributions, it’s no wonder the club chose her for this special honor!

The sprightly 95-years-young Winona was born in Battle Creek, Mich., in 1921. Her husband, Albert, was in the U.S. Air Force; they traveled around the United States for many years while he served, until they landed in San Antonio. He was at Brooks Air Force Base School of Aerospace Medicine, and became an ophthalmologist; Albert retired as a lieutenant colonel at Randolph AFB.

They had three children; one daughter passed away. When their youngest son graduated from Highlands High School in 1972, they moved to La Vernia.

Winona is an accomplished artist and her works have been featured for many years in the La Vernia Historical Association’s Chihuahua Trail Art Show & Sale. Her favorite medium is oils and she has sold many of her works at the shows.

She started painting in her early 30s, when Albert was still in the military.

“The winters were very cold in Cheyenne, Wyo., and there wasn’t much to do pass the time,” Winona recalled. “My husband bought me a paint-by-numbers set and I was frustrated by it because I didn’t like to stay inside the lines!”

She started taking painting lessons in Bloomington, Ind., in 1956 when the Air Force transferred them there; she then took lessons in every town they lived in while Albert served. She last studied with Helyn Culclasure in San Antonio, but she doesn’t take lessons anymore.

Why not?

“I don’t need them anymore,” she chuckled, displaying a cute sense of humor.

You won’t want to miss Winona’s newest works of art this November in the Chihuahua Trail Art Show and Sale.

In addition to her art, her life is busy with two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her son, Albert, lives with her in La Vernia. Her son, Andrew, lives in Austin.

Also keeping Winona company are her dog and cat. Ebony, a terrier mix, was rescued from a patch of cactus where she had been dumped by an abusive ex-owner. Her outside cat, Davy, is an avid gopher catcher.

“He’s quite the surgeon,” Winona quipped, with a giggle.

She loves flowers, but confesses she has “a black thumb.”

“I am definitely not a master gardener,” she said.

Her other passion is reading, and she enjoys historical Regency novels. Her favorite author is Mary Balogh.

Winona started the public library that formerly served La Vernia and manned it for nine years. She was also on the board of the Wilson County Public Library.

She has been a member of the La Vernia Historical Association since 2002.

Association President Elaine Stephens and Vice President Susan Richter are full of admiration for their fellow member.

“The La Vernia Historical Association has been hugely blessed that Winona has shared her wisdom and experience with our association for more than 14 years as an officer and precious friend,” Stephens said.

According to La Vernia Lions Club President Steve Mays, the club selected Winona as this year’s parade grand marshal because “She has a lot of community pride,” he said. “She has done a lot for our community, including the library; she has a lot of experience and has served our community for many years and we wanted to recognize her.”

Plan now to attend the parade this Saturday, and be sure to wave to Winona as she passes by along the route in the 38th annual La Vernia Lions Club’s Bluebonnet Parade!

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