Longtime FHS teacher diesFor nearly two decades, Wilbur Winblad helped Farmington students find their way.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
For nearly two decades, Wilbur Winblad helped Farmington students find their way.
Winblad, known to most by his nickname, “Soup,” died Sunday at the age of 86.
Winblad came to Farmington High School in 1954 and spent the next 18 years as a history teacher, counselor, driver training instructor and athletic director. He spent five years as basketball coach at the school and the Tigers won the Hiawatha League Title each of those years.
Ruth Cook got to know Winblad when she came to FHS as a ninth grade English teacher in 1960. She remembered him Tuesday as a compassionate person who cared about the kids he was teaching and counseling.
“He was very understanding,” Cook said. “He understood the kids. He listened.
“He was just a real fine educator.”
Winblad was named Farmington’s Teacher of the Year in 1972, his final year at the high school.
Jerry Bauer was a Farmington High School senior in Winblad’s first year at the school. He knew Winblad through school, but also through church and through Winblad’s coaching activities. He remained close with his former teacher for years after graduation and said Winblad was “a great guy.”
“He understood everybody. He didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody,” Little said. “I saw him at graduations and reunions and he always had something good to say to me.”
Winblad left Farmington High School in 1972 and moved on to Dakota County Technical College. He spent 10 years as a counselor there, then became a recruiter for the school. In the five years he spent in that job he became the face of the college to residents around the region.
Winblad received DCTC’s Teacher of the Year award in 1980 and last year received the school’s first Spirit of DCTC Award.
Winblad lived in Rosemount at the time of his death, but he never left Farmington behind. He was named to the FHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.
Soup Winblad was born to Swedish immigrants in 1923 in Red Wing. His nickname goes back to childhood, when his uncle would trim his hair with a sheep shears. The resulting style reminded everyone of a soup bowl.
Soup lettered in basketball, baseball and football at Red Wing High School and led two basketball teams to the state championship game. He was named an all-state basketball guard and an all-southern Minnesota halfback in 1941.
Winblad spent a semester at Bemidji State College before volunteering to serve in the Marines in World War II. He served in the South Pacific and was discharged as a sergeant in 1946. He moved on to Winona State Teacher’s College.
Winblad was a star athlete in Winona, too. He was named the school’s most valuable football player in 1946 and was inducted to the Winona State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.