Remembering Wendi Winters
Jun 29, 2018 11:33AM ● Published by James Houck
Courtesy Baltimore Sun Media Group
Wendi Winters was a true professional, energetic collaborator, creative writer, and sweetheart to the greater Annapolis community. She will be dearly missed and remembered by those that loved and knew her. She will be equally missed by those who came to rely on her journalism and storytelling, which she did so well and with a motherly passion. Winters loved the community she called home, Cape St. Claire and Annapolis-at-large. Her devotion to her craft and community permeated the articles she wrote.
For more than 10 years prior to her full-time work as a writer, then editor, at the Capital Gazette newspaper, Winters frequently contributed articles to What’s Up? Media, specifically What’s Up? Annapolis magazine. She grew as a writer and community presence hand-in-hand with our publication and the editorial team. What's Up? Media Publisher Veronica Tovey and former What’s Up? Media Editor Nadja Maril were particularly fond of Winters’ style and panache, especially as it related to articles Winters wrote about fashion trends. Winters was, in fact, the first writer to cover fashion for What’s Up? Media; her New York City roots and industry expertise lending a critical and qualified voice to the subject matter.
Winters would also write countless articles on local culture, community, and frequently interviewed the who’s who in town. She once extracted childhood memories about camping from the Annapolis mayor, Anne Arundel County executive, and other local dignitaries for an article that romanced the summer camp experiences of yesteryear. She often employed personal recollection in her writing; an example of which was a health article about cochlear implants, in which she told the tale of her deaf uncle who, despite navigating life with hearing loss, achieved notoriety as director of microsurgical research and training laboratories for the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery at the New York University School of Medicine. It was a good lead-in to the medical content that followed.
Winters collaborated with photographers often. Original and long-time contributing What’s Up? Media photographer Larry French says he not only enjoyed the work they produced on assignment together, he enjoyed her lively company. Winters and French often attended What’s Up? Media’s holiday and promotional parties. Her presence was always exuberant, personal, and comedic, which she extended into her annual Christmas card, known as the “Massive Missive;” usually a 5,000-plus-word summary of the Winters-Geimer family’s (husband and four children) past year delivered with a baked holiday goodie.
In recent years, Winters developed and directed the annual “P.R. Bazaar” event, so named because it brought together members of all local media outlets face-to-face with the community and point-persons from organizations and businesses. Always a full room, the event was held at Unitarian Universalist Church in Annapolis. Winters knew everyone by first name that paneled and attended the lively forum.
The very last story that I pitched to her was in 2013 and she politely declined. “I’ve just accepted a full-time position at the Capital,” she told me excitedly. Having seen her by-line in the newspaper with more and more frequency, I had a hunch and was happy for her. Reporting on her community was her calling and I wished her the best moving forward. We remained in touch, on and off, and usually each April the call to contribute to the P.R. Bazaar would ring through. She was also quick to offer her empathy and family’s condolences when my daughter passed just one year ago.
We always kept the door open, hoping to work together on articles and all the creative, fun “stuff” she so loved, but I knew that the Capital Gazette had a keeper.
Rest in peace Wendi. And may each other victim of this tragedy—Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, and Rebecca Smith—rest in peace.
–James Houck, Editorial Director, What’s Up? Media