What some see as sacrifice, others see as opportunity. That point of view is one thing that sets Elder Richard H. Winkel of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and his wife apart from many others. In an interview with the Church News, Sister Winkel commented, "I always stop and think when I hear that word in connection with the gospel, because I really can't think of any sacrifices that we've made. We've just loved the gospel and received blessings. I just can't think of any sacrifices."
Richard H. Winkel was born May 17, 1942 in Oakland, California to Francis Benjamin Winkel and Blanche Thompson. He was raised in the Church, baptized as a child, and received the Aaronic Priesthood as a youth. When, as a young man, he received a mission call to Chile, he had only to look to his parents and grandparents... he would be the third generation to accept a mission call. Richard served in the Chilean Mission from 1962 to 1964, only shortly after the mission was organized.
Following his mission, Richard took the opportunity to travel to Spain where he attended the University of Madrid for a season. Returning to the States, Richard then enrolled in Brigham Young University where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications. He was later awarded a Master's degree by Pepperdine University. It was while attending a student ward at BYU that Richard met Karen Hart, the girl who would later become his wife. First attracted to her as she gave a Sacrament Meeting talk, their first date was a Family Home Evening with other students. After that first get together, Richard announced to his moommates, "That's the girl I'm going to marry." True to his pronouncement, Richard took Karen to the Salt lake Temple there to be sealed as eternal companions on August 31, 1966. The couple had nine children and, at the time of his call as a General Authority, seven grandchildren.
After completing his education, the family returned to northern California to work in the family lumber business. He later built his own mill. Beaver Lumber of Arcata specialized in high-end lumber, milling mouldings and sidings, and as owner, Richard could set apart a little extra time to serve the Lord. Over the years, he served as a Scout Leader, Seminary Teacher, Bishop, Stake High Councilor, and Stake President. Then the lord decided that Richard was not spending enough time in service to the Kingdom. He was called into full-time service as President of the Spain Madrid Mission between 1994 and 1997.
Richard's return to Spain was especially gratifying as when he had been there earlier, there had been only a single serviceman's branch in the entire nation. When he had spoken of the Gospel to others living in his boardinghouse he had been told, "Your Church will never suceed in Spain." His return to the country found some twenty-five thousand saints and a Temple under construction.
In April of 1999, Richard H. Winkel was ordained a Seventy and given a five-year call as a General Authority in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. After sucessful and honorable service for a period of six years, he was extended an honorable release in October 2006 and given a vote of thanks by a grateful Church assembled in General Conference.